What are the main differences between Linux and Windows (and Unix), in terms of both quality and stability?
By submitting your personal information, you agree that TechTarget and its partners may contact you regarding relevant content, products and special offers.
Though Windows has become more stable in recent years, most experts do not view it as a more stable operating system than either Linux or Unix. Of the three, I would say Unix is the most scalable and reliable OS because it usually is tightly integrated with the hardware. The big three Unix vendors (IBM, HP and Sun) each have the advantage of designing their respective Unix versions around their hardware line, which allows them to have fewer hardware incompatibilities and issues than either Linux or Windows.
Microsoft Windows will only run on PC Intel-type architectures, while Linux has grown up from that restriction and can even run on IBM p5 chips (to be released shortly) with dynamic logical partitioning and virtualization.
Many of the differences themselves relate to the overall approach taken by the vendors that support these products. Windows is developed and supported by Microsoft and if that works for you, and you don't mind having to install security updates eight times a day (and rebooting your servers almost as many times) that's fine. The Linux kernel is developed by the open source community and is then integrated into various distributions sold by Linux vendors such as Red Hat and Novell. With the release of the 2.6 kernel, Linux is now starting to play in arenas where only Unix has played previously. It now scales to levels close to high-end Unix systems, particulary with respect to IBM platforms where you can now micro-partition your CPUs on a server that offers dynamic and micro-logical partitioning (IBM p5 series), with the 2.6 kernel released by Novell/SuSE.
In my view, Windows works best in the desktop arena, while Linux is slowly pushing harder in that area. Unix still works best in mission-critical environments where one needs optimum reliability and scalability and vendor support. Linux is closing the gap on the desktop and server market, primarily because of its reliability, scalability and quality.
Dig Deeper on Linux servers
Related Q&A from Kenneth Milberg
Learn which makes more sense for your enterprise: building your own cloud-based diagnostic tooling or purchasing an existing product. Expert Ken ...continue reading
Learn about Helm Charts and how Kubernetes supports a microservices architecture. Expert Ken Milberg discusses what you need to know before delving ...continue reading
Learn about what blockchain is, and then begin to understand how best to choose a tool that can automate blockchain services. Expert Ken Milberg ...continue reading
Have a question for an expert?
Please add a title for your question
Get answers from a TechTarget expert on whatever's puzzling you.