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Linux versus Windows

I need information on the ongoing competition between Linux and Microsoft and discuss the differences and similarities. Where might Linux be used in a company's IT infrastructure?What are the pros /cons of using Linux.

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Both Windows and Linux come in many flavors. All the flavors of Windows come from Microsoft, the various distributions of Linux come from different companies (i.e. Linspire, Red Hat, SuSE, Ubuntu, Mandriva, Knoppix, Slackware, Lycoris). Windows has two main lines: "Win9x", which consists of Windows 95, 98, 98SE and Me, and "NT class" which consists of Windows NT, 2000 and XP. Windows actually started, in the old days, with version 3.x which pre-dated Windows 95 by a few years.

The flavors of Linux are referred to as distributions. They differ in the add-on software provided, GUI, install process, price, documentation and technical support. Both Linux and Windows come in desktop and server editions.

There may be too many distributions of Linux, it is possible that this is hurting Linux in the marketplace.

Linux is customizable in a way that Windows is not. There are many special purpose versions of Linux above and beyond the full blown distributions described above. For example, NASLite is a version of Linux that runs off a single floppy disk and converts an old computer into a file server. This ultra small edition of Linux is capable of networking, file sharing and being a web server.

Graphical User Interface
Both Linux and Windows provide a GUI and a command line interface. The Windows GUI has changed from Windows 3.1 to Windows 95 (drastically) to Windows 2000 (slightly) to Windows XP (fairly large) and is slated to change again with the next version of Windows, the one that will replace XP. Windows XP has a themes feature that offers some customization of the look and feel of the GUI.

Linux typically provides two GUIs, KDE and Gnome. See a screen shot of Lycoris and Lindows in action from the Wal-Mart web site. The lynucs.org web site has examples of many substantially different Linux GUIs. Of the major Linux distributions, Lindows ...