Linux vs Windows: what is better for developers?

If you’ve ever been asked this question, whether Linux or Windows is better from a developer’s point of view, then the short answer for this is Linux. And in this article, we will continue elaborating on why Linux is better. 

First, an intro into the two – Windows and Linux

There are plenty of operating systems around, but dominant ones are Windows, Apple and Linux. Microsoft Windows owns a lion’s share of the market, while Linux distributions are evident in servers and supercomputers. 

Windows

Developed by Microsoft, Windows is a group of GUI operating systems targeting the personal computing market. It comes in two versions: 32 bits and 64 bits for both client and server versions. They upgrade both the client and server versions from time to time. 

Linux

Linux is a group of Unix-like operating systems based on Linux kernels. Though Linux is mainly used for servers, it comes in the desktop version as well. The operating system comes packaged with Linux distribution. Some of the popular Linux distributions are Debian, Fedora and Ubuntu. For commercial distributors, we have the SUSE Linux Enterprise Server and the RedHat Enterprise Linux. 

Why do developers prefer Linux most of the time?

The main reason why Linux is highly regarded is because of its open-source nature and comes with powerful features that developers love. Linux’s unix-like system can be customised easily so the developers can make changes according to their needs.  Here are other reasons:

1. Commercial Vs Open source

Windows OS is commercial, so it isn’t free to download. Linux is freely available, and download it through any number of distribution channels. It is possible to look at the source code of Linux, a huge plus point when compared to Windows.

2. Linux can be fitted to a range of systems

As operating systems evolve, their hardware requirements also evolve, and when you get a new version of Windows, you need to have the hardware system to run it successfully. You cannot run it on any low-end system. 

Linux is accommodating, you can install and run them on low-end systems. But then that doesn’t mean that all Linux distributions work with outdated processors, there are some that don’t. 

This is probably the reason why almost all the servers prefer to run on Linux than on Windows.

3. Support for Programming languages

Linux’s support for programming languages is very impressive like Python, C/C, Java, Perl, Ruby, etc, and there is a huge range of applications useful for programming. The ability of bash scripting is a feature of Linux that developers love. And there is a package manager that makes it easier for developers to get things done. 

4. Customisation

Linux lets you customize and tweak your system easily, because its got tons of installing themes and icon themes. And you can play around with the Wallpapers as much as you want.

5. Free to use

Linux is accessible for free, and you will get an original copy of Linux distro. As for Windows, you know the truth too. 

6. Effective and faster updates

With Windows, you have to wait for a significant amount of time for a software update, and even then there could be issues with every update. With Linux, the updates may be faster, and most of the time, it can fix the problems you’ve faced with Linux.

7. Variety of distributions

Linux comes with several different types of distributions suited to different needs, and you can install any of them depending on your needs. But Windows come in just one flavour, and you need to adjust your plans and packages accordingly. 

8. No more re-installing

Windows crash often, and they even become sluggish forcing you to reinstall Windows once in a while. However, with Linux, you don’t have to reinstall the operating system that frequently, and you can enjoy smoother working for longer periods.

9. Excellent community support

Since there are hundreds of Linux distros in active development, there is a huge community of developers who are ready to provide solutions instantly. Or you can just Google your doubt when you are stuck somewhere in the coding section.

10. Privacy

The way Windows collects privacy data is not appreciated by the users at all. Microsoft will still keep collecting your information even after you opt out that you need a specific set of tools for disabling the spying modules of Windows. Linux fills this gap by collecting only limited data, so it is more suited for people who prefer to remain private.

When security is a major concern: How both handle security demands

Linux is very difficult to break through because it is a highly secure OS when compared to other OS of its genre. Though Linux is open source, and the entire user base can have access to the source code, you may wonder how the OS can maintain its security levels. But then that’s also the reason why it is monitored for issues, and any chance of vulnerability can be handled and the hacking contained. 

The Linux users can investigate fix the issues as they arise since it is open source. The huge community of developers maintain the codes continuously. 

But for Windows, that’s not the case because the users themselves cannot fix the issue, and they cannot get to the source code and rectify the hack. When there is a bug or an attack, the user cannot fix the issue, but instead send a report, and wait for them to fix it. And the downside is that with Windows, the user has full access over their access, so when a hack occurs, it will affect the entire system, making the risk even higher. 

Linux has IP tables to beef up security, and with the help of IPtables the network traffic can be controlled, and there will be a Linux kernel firewall with its set of rules to prevent hacks. This makes the entire system secure, and much more safer when compared to Windows. 

Other features that make the Linux OS more secure than Windows include the usage of repositories and concept of package management.

When you install Windows, you need to download a good antivirus program along with it and update it to keep away from hackers and malware. With Linux, you don’t have to install any antivirus programs at all, but if you insist, there are software tools that help you keep the system free from hacks. The best thing about Linux is that there is only limited access for users, and in case of virus attacks, the entire system doesn’t get affected, only a part of it. 

The working environments about Linux is also segmented, and this protects the virus attacks from spreading. However, the Windows OS is not segmented, and so the attack can spread quickly. 

And one more reason why Linux is more secure is that the number of users with Linux is fairly smaller when compared to Windows, and hackers are more interested in targeting software that maximum people use. 

Now that you’ve read about the advantages Linux has over Microsoft, are you ready to make the switch if you are using Windows OS? Apart from the benefits mentioned above, what others do you think would make Linux a much better choice?

Interesting Links:

Windows vs Linux: What’s the best operating system?

Why do some programmers prefer Linux OS instead of Windows or macOS?

Pictures: Canva

The author: Sascha Thattil works at Software-Developer-India.com which is a part of the YUHIRO Group. YUHIRO is a German-Indian enterprise which provides programmers to IT companies, agencies and IT departments.

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