Sunday, April 23, 2006

Windows or Linux? Peforming An Objective Comparison

In IT, we are always hearing about the debate about which network operating system (NOS) is better - Windows or Linux. Many IT professionals have their favorite, and many of them will vehemently defend their choice. Some of the reasons to support one operating system over another are valid: performance, ease of use, and security. Other reasons are trivial, such as a personal bias against the manufacturers of the other operating system.

As an IT professional, you may be approached by a client or your employers on advice for choosing a NOS to use for your infrastructure. When making a decision, it is important to not be influenced by the arguments. It is better to do an objective, business-oriented approach to deciding which network operating system to choose.

Consider the following factors when performing your research:

  • Cost
    How much will the NOS and the implementation of this infrastructure cost your company or client?

  • Reliability
    How often does your NOS "crash"? What will be the Time to Repair?

  • Time to Launch
    How quickly will the employees or client learn the NOS?

  • Security
    How easy is it for a hacker to break in to your network?

  • Hardware, Software, and Network Capability
    Will it work with what you have now? Will you need new drivers, equipment, etc.?

I have written and published an evaluative essay between the Microsoft Windows NOS and the Linux NOS. There was no particular Linux manufacturer that I chose in the comparison, since there are number of manufacturers, but the data applies to nearly all of the Linux manufacturers. You may read a PDF version of the essay here: The Window or the Penguin? A Comparison of Windows and Linux

To be a good IT decision maker, don't just use my document exclusively when making your decision! Make sure you research other sources to help you come to a conclusion.

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