Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Operating Systems Software Windows Linux

Linux vs. Windows: What's The Difference? 1219

Posted by timothy
from the parallels-maybe-but-come-on dept.
underpar writes "This zdnet article covering Microsoft's Tech Ed conference quotes one of the speakers, Mark Russinovich, as saying that Linux is becoming more and more like Windows. He cites many examples of where Linux 'copies' Windows and other operating systems. He says the only current difference is 'how windowing is handled.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Linux vs. Windows: What's The Difference?

Comments Filter:
  • by andyrut (300890) on Thursday July 01, 2004 @05:05PM (#9586609) Homepage Journal
    What's the difference? About $299 [microsoft.com].

    Or much more [microsoft.com] if you consider a server comparison.
    • by TwistedSquare (650445) on Thursday July 01, 2004 @05:09PM (#9586660) Homepage
      I think you'll find that means Windows is 400 dollars cheaper than Linux.

      Sincerely,

      Darl.

      • by xp (146294) on Thursday July 01, 2004 @07:40PM (#9587998) Homepage Journal
        But what about the Total Cost of Ownership?
        ----
        Software Ideas [blogspot.com]
        • by sg_oneill (159032) on Friday July 02, 2004 @02:27AM (#9589987)
          Windows is more expensive to maintain as it requires more work, has been shown in some studies to be more difficult to use by beginners (gnome) and attracts less qualified IT staff. There? How does that grab ya?
        • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 02, 2004 @03:09AM (#9590094)
          But what about the Total Cost of Ownership?

          Dude, no-one owns Windows. Once installed, Windows owns you.
    • Much, much more, even not for just a server. If you ignore windows ports of other GNU applications, you end up with linux having a great superiority over Windows:
      • compilers! you can't program sh*t on a windows install without buying separate software.
      • your choice of how your desktop environment looks
      • games, not just freecell and solitaire
      • real networking tools, such as nmap, a variety of firewalls, heck the list is too long to begin here
      • a powerful command prompt for expert users

      Etc., making linux a vi

      • by pbox (146337) on Thursday July 01, 2004 @05:17PM (#9586763) Journal
        # compilers! you can't program sh*t on a windows install without buying separate software.

        Unless you download mingw

        # your choice of how your desktop environment looks

        themes?

        # games, not just freecell and solitaire

        like gnubg, tux racer in cygwin?

        # real networking tools, such as nmap, a variety of firewalls, heck the list is too long to begin here

        Which almost without exception available for windows?

        # a powerful command prompt for expert users

        cygwin?
        • # your choice of how your desktop environment looks

          themes?


          Themes are a pathetic substitute for being able to totally switch desktop environments and/or window managers. My environment looks and acts nothing at all like Windows, and I prefer it that way. I've heard of alternate GUIs for Windows, but since Windows ties you down to using a GUI for nearly everything, I can't imagine that you'd ever have enough flexibility. (Control panels are for pussies.)

          # a powerful command prompt for expert users

          cygwi

          • by Cereal Box (4286) on Thursday July 01, 2004 @07:39PM (#9587995)
            Can you ssh into your windows machine and restart the webserver with one simple command?

            Uh, yes. Guess what, cygwin has a port of sshd! So yes, you can ssh into your machine. And if you're running Apache (also ported to Windows), you can do just what you described quite easily.

            Can you totally modify the way your computer runs by writing shell scripts or modifying existing ones?

            Elaborate.
            • by upsidedown_duck (788782) on Thursday July 01, 2004 @07:48PM (#9588063)
              cygwin has a port of sshd

              I think it can be argued that Windows + cygwin != Windows.

              • by Pharmboy (216950) on Thursday July 01, 2004 @08:36PM (#9588329) Journal
                I think it can be argued that Windows + cygwin != Windows.

                Well, it isn't exactly Lindows either ;) I have used Cygwin for a long time, and while it is pretty handy, it will not compile everything and has serious limitations. I still love it and find it useful, but its not a substitute for a Linux environment. You can run sshd in Cygwin, but there are still some limitations. Also, I find that PUTTY is easier to ssh and sftp with, rather than cygwin's ports of ssh and sftp. The Perl windows port is a bit handier than Perl in Cygwin also, for local machine tasks.

                Cygwin [cygwin.com] is the next best thing to a Linux install, but it is far from being the same thing.
          • by rnd() (118781) on Thursday July 01, 2004 @10:45PM (#9589084) Homepage
            looking for a command prompt? Download Microsoft Unix tools for Windows. You'll get a better integrated variation on cygwin (based on one of the bsds)... it's free for download and works pretty well, particularly for things like grep and awk, which i couldn't live without.
          • by Slime-dogg (120473) on Friday July 02, 2004 @12:52AM (#9589688) Journal

            I'm no big fan of windows, but it seems like you're not really knowledgeable about this stuff.

            Can you ssh into your windows machine and restart the webserver with one simple command? Can you totally modify the way your computer runs by writing shell scripts or modifying existing ones?

            In essence, yes... and yes. There are probably a few open ssh implementations that run as a service in Windows, just as there is an Apache service. Also of note, Microsoft released a POSIX / UNIX compatibility thing for NT/Win2K/XP (Unix services for Windows? I don't know what it's called.). It's only a few steps then, to get sshd up and running.

            As for the web server... "iisreset" I think is the single command. I could be wrong, I don't have IIS installed on my home XP machine at the moment.

            Lastly, Windows has a scripting host. You can do nearly everything with vbs. VB sucks as a language, but it's what they chose. I think that javascript might also be available. Anyways... there are scripts out there that let you shut down machines remotely, force the current user to log out, etc. etc. Of course, RPC has to be enabled, but it's all there. If there's an OLE, COM or ActiveX representation of whatever service or object that you wish to work with, you can access it through the scripting host.

            I've had to work with Windows boxes at work, so I've had to learn a lot about everything. The security model is really interesting, and can be extremely *tight*, if you wish it to be. You can limit access to almost all OLE/COM/ActiveX objects to groups, you just need to find or develop the right tool.

            Yes.... Mingw provides a bourne again shell for windows. Borland provides a free c++ compiler. Java is free (as in beer). Hell, even the MS .NET SDK is a free (as in beer) download, and Mono is a free (as in freedom) alternative that works in Windows.

            I don't use a GUI to do much administration in Windows anymore, it just isn't my preferred method. Don't bitch about GUI being the *only* way to do it, since it most likely is not. I'd venture a guess to say that about 95% of everything that you can do with the GUI, you can do with the command line.

            Now... creating symbolic and hard links in NTFS, and having the boot partition on a separate HD than your C:\Windows (C:\WINNT) directory, well those are options that you have to go without.

      • by Kenja (541830) on Thursday July 01, 2004 @05:19PM (#9586798)
        "compilers! you can't program sh*t on a windows install without buying separate software."
        There are many compilers out there for many languages. Other then VC++ I cant think of any language that dosn't have a free compiler out there for Windows.

        "your choice of how your desktop environment looks"
        There are so many desktop replacments/customizers out for windows I wouldn't even know where to start.

        "games, not just freecell and solitaire"
        Are you REALY trying to claim that there are more freeware games out for Linux then for Windows? Even the most basic of searches will prove this wrong.

        "real networking tools, such as nmap, a variety of firewalls, heck the list is too long to begin here"
        Most of them are available for windows.

        "a powerful command prompt for expert users"
        Ok, whats the diference between the BASH/TCSH/etc shell on Linux and the same shell on Windows?

        Everything you listed is just a download away. I fail to see the problem.

        • There are many compilers out there for many languages. Other then VC++ I cant think of any language that dosn't have a free compiler out there for Windows.

          Actually, the MS Visual C++ compiler is free now. Just not the IDE.

          http://howtos.beaucox.com/win32-vc7-compiler.html [beaucox.com]
        • by DMadCat (643046) <(moc.snadnoom) (ta) (tacdamd)> on Thursday July 01, 2004 @06:55PM (#9587688)
          Everything you listed is just a download away. I fail to see the problem.

          Hell, with Windows some programs even download themselves! Now that's service!

        • by Stinking Pig (45860) on Thursday July 01, 2004 @07:00PM (#9587720) Homepage
          I understand your point, but I will note that the free desktop customizers I've tried have not been stable, and I'm too cheap to plunk down money hoping that the non-free version is better.

          Additionally, I assume you're referring to SFU or Cygwin when you say you can get real shells on Windows, and there the difference is obvious as soon as you try some filesystem access. Permission thunking between NTFS ACLs and Unix-style perms slows it all down quite a bit, and the funny mounting stuff isn't bulletproof.

          My day to be pedantic, I guess.
        • by Storm (2856) on Thursday July 01, 2004 @08:33PM (#9588313) Homepage
          Everything you listed is just a download away. I fail to see the problem.

          I see two problems. First, pretty much everything you mentioned involves a third-party "strap-on" items. This works fine for some things, but many apps suffer a fate that Windows either overrides them or just don't work quite right with them, causing random lockups of the machine or the app. Most times, there is nothing wrong with the app itself, since it runs under Unix/Linux/OSX/whatever (a perfect example is gnupg, which runs fine on Linux, but when I tried to run it on XP Pro, problems). Unix uses what may be considered third party apps, however, Unix (and Linux) were designed from the beginning as a collection of tools which do one or two things, and do them exceedingly well. These tools can be mixed and matched as needed to accomplish tasks. Therefore, plugging a tool in to a *nix box is absolutely natural. Windows, OTOH, was designed and built as a monolithic entity (some would say belligerently so). Adding third-party tools to Windows can be akin to strapping a JATO pod to a '65 Ford Fairlane.It doesn't make it an airplane, but it can sometimes make a mess.

          The second issue is security. I hear every day from Windows advocates that "Linux has as many or more security holes as Windows." This is a straw-man, since many Windows security problems of a higher level of risk than the average Linux one. If I have 10 rifles, I am still less of a risk than if you have one nuke. Either because of the difficulty in exploitation of the Linux holes, or because they are local-only exploits.

          Many Windows problems are a result of the "point and click" mindset. IE autoinstalling malware, Outlook auto-opening unknown attachments, and so forth, and being configured to behave this way. Can Linux be configured this way? Sure. Is it out of the box? Not generally. And this doesn't even begin to address the disparity in fix release time.

          Those are some of the problems I see.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 01, 2004 @05:20PM (#9586814)
        1. Visual C++ (the compiler, not the IDE) is a free download.

        2. Themes and skins are available. And if you don't like them, you can download and install other shells.

        3. Plenty of games for Windows.

        4. Plenty of real networking tools available.

        5. Ok, the command prompt could definitely use some work.

        Of course, on 1, 2, 3, and 4, you might have to (gasp!) download something off of the Internet. They don't come with the OS. On the other hand, none of the above actually come with "Linux" either. They come with a distro, or as packages. While the available "Windows" distros may not quite suit your fancy, compared to Linux, it is just as easy (actually, easier in my experience) to get your Windows installation up to snuff. I can download and install a Windows utility more quickly than I can build and install a Linux package.
      • Did everyone responding to this miss the point?

        The post is talking about things that come packaged in most distros.

        Last time I checked cygwin + windows themes managers werent bundled with $99 windows XP home
      • by zangdesign (462534) on Thursday July 01, 2004 @05:37PM (#9587024) Journal
        Au contraire, mon frere.

        Compilers - Microsoft just released free versions of their Visual Development environments. The VC command line compiler is also available. There are several other free compilers available as well.

        Environment - ever heard of Litestep? Completely replaces Explorer. As well as BB4Win, ObjectDesktop and several others.

        Games - there's all sorts of free games out there for windows. Try Google once in a while.

        Networking tools - you are correct on that point.

        Command Prompt - bash for windows, 4DOS/4NT/TakeCommand (non-free, but inexpensive). Both of those work within the constraints posed by the operating system. Bash mimics the Unix CLI, while 4DOS/4NT/Take Command provide extra functionality. Bash runs on top of cmd.exe, 4NT replaces it. Take Command is an alternate shell environment.

        Do some research next time.
        • by david_reese (460043) on Thursday July 01, 2004 @06:33PM (#9587528)
          Compilers - Microsoft just released free versions of their Visual Development environments. The VC command line compiler is also available. There are several other free compilers available as well.

          Sure, they're free... but they're also Beta, and the licensing agreement says you can't publish any software you write with the environment. How does that compare to Linux... it doesn't.

      • by Keith Russell (4440) <keith.russell@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Thursday July 01, 2004 @06:07PM (#9587304) Journal
        If you ignore windows ports of other GNU applications...
        @ real networking tools, such as nmap...
        @ a powerful command prompt...

        Of course the solution set looks pretty small, after you've arbitrarily eliminated half of it. Nothing's stopping you from downloading Cygwin [cygwin.com].

        @ compilers! you can't program sh*t on a windows install without buying separate software.

        Sure [microsoft.com] you [microsoft.com] can [microsoft.com].

        @ your choice of how your desktop environment looks
        @ games, not just freecell and solitaire

        Try Google. There are plenty of free games and skinning tools out there.

        Microsoft doesn't put all this stuff on a CD and put it in the box with Windows, but that doesn't mean that these programs don't exist, or aren't useful. The only advantage GNU/Linux has is a distro that throws everything and KitchenSink 3.1, with sources, onto a DVD-ROM, like SuSE's Professional package. But that doesn't quite raise GNU/Linux to the level of superiority you suggest.

        OTOH, the availability of source in the first place does give Linux quite a lift. :-)

      • by the_mad_poster (640772) <shattoc@adelphia.com> on Thursday July 01, 2004 @06:22PM (#9587434) Homepage Journal

        If you ignore windows ports of other GNU applications, you end up with linux having a great superiority over Windows

        Huh? You can't just ignore the GNU stuff just because it's on Windows. If you're going to do that, you might as well say that if you ignore the things that were ported from UNIX to Linux, UNIX has a huge advantage.

        Just because it doesn't come with Windows doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Technically, none of that other crap comes with Linux either. You just get your copy of Linux from a supplier that includes all those tools with it.

    • "What's the difference? About $299."

      And think of the added productivity boost you'll have when all your games stop working!
  • And it's gotten even worse with Mac OS 10.4 because now:
    Linux copies Windows which copies Mac which copies Linux
    (I'm sure SCO Unix gets copied in there somewhere too)

    Uh oh... doesn't that sort of relationship end the universe in some sort of giant BLIP!?

    Now, for those who want to actually read something that matters, Ars Technica has a primer on PCI-Express [arstechnica.com]. Impress your friends, neighbors, and countrymen!
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 01, 2004 @05:18PM (#9586787)
      Nah, it's more like this ... with the circle (in dots) being common ideas, which grows larger and larger and bulges in some directions as two of the three share ideas that the others don't. The three lines represent new ideas coming in. Over time, each OS picks up the best (and sometimes worst) features of the others.

      Windows
      \
      \ . .
      .\ .
      . \______ Linux
      . / .
      / ..
      /
      /
      Mac OS
    • Windows copies OS/2. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by www.sorehands.com (142825) on Thursday July 01, 2004 @05:21PM (#9586824) Homepage
      OS/2 2.0 has much of the stuff that Windos 98/2000 had before they had it.


      There is only one program that has ever been written from scratch -- "Hello World.". Everything else is just cut and past from that.

    • by plj (673710) on Thursday July 01, 2004 @05:47PM (#9587113)
      Mark Russinovich is a known pro-windows guy, whose views are for sure heavily biased. Kudos for him though, that he really knows his OS inside out - he is one of the guys behind Sysinternals, and I've more than once found their tools very helpful when dealing with problems of Windows boxes.

      Despite his talk being biased, I think he got one important point mostly right:

      But ultimately, said Russinovich, the gap between the two operating systems will continue to narrow to a point where their underlying kernel becomes irrelevant. "Layered services will become more important," he concluded.

      On server space the kernel performance probably counts out more, but at least for most (not all, though) desktop users the kernel really isn't the most important part; it is the common APIs that do the trick. One could build two very similar boxes, one running Linux and the other FreeBSD - both running same apps, with differences hardly noticeable for the end user. Switch the BSD box to Mach kernel, keep userland, and still no much difference. But then just throw Apple's Quartz instead of X on top of that, and we suddenly have totally different world! This is just because we'll now suddenly have a totally different set of APIs.

      However - what Russinovich left out - Windows will inevitably be the very last one to jump on this bandvagon, due to Microsoft's policies' closed nature and it's dominant position on the market. Windows just does not have to be compatible with other systems on the market the same way POSIX systems does have to - not at least from it's vendor's viewpoint.
  • Please note... (Score:5, Informative)

    by XaXXon (202882) * <xaxxon@gmaiCHEETAHl.com minus cat> on Thursday July 01, 2004 @05:07PM (#9586627) Homepage
    The article is talking about the Linux KERNEL not the Gnu/Linux system. He's comparing the linux kernel and the windows kernel, and the difference betweent he two with regards to windowing systems is that Windows has windowing operations in the kernel, whereas Linus has it in unser space.

    Just a little summary for people too impatient to read the article..
    • Windows (Score:3, Funny)

      by Exousia (662698)
      Somebody needs to write an OS where the windowing operations are all done in the memory allocator. Wouldn't that be the more efficient way to go about it?
    • by tux_deamon (663650) on Thursday July 01, 2004 @05:35PM (#9586988)

      "With Linux, you have messages transmitted which can degrade performance," he said, but conceded that this does make it easier to do remote applications. "With X-windows you can run windows for applications on a remote client. That is much more difficult in Microsoft Windows," he said.

      First off, what the hell is "X-windows"? I know of the X Window System, X11, X, X.org, XFree86 -- but I know nothing of this "X-windows."

      Now, what the author of the article fails to point out, is that the more significant difference between the operating systems, is that one requires the use of GUI display, while the other finds it entirely optional.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 01, 2004 @05:55PM (#9587185)
        Well son,

        in the old days, before windows even existed, there was X1(0|1) and most people commonly referred to it as X-windows.
        We even thought it was plagiarism that Microsoft called their stuff "Windows"


        But you must be of that young generation that grew up with windows so I guess it sounds strange to you.


        Sincerely,


        Grandpa

      • by Barlo_Mung_42 (411228) on Thursday July 01, 2004 @06:06PM (#9587299) Homepage
        "Now, what the author of the article fails to point out, is that the more significant difference between the operating systems, is that one requires the use of GUI display"

        That is not correct. NT (and hence XP) was designed with the flexibility to support multiple OS Environments. One such option is the POSIX environment which is not a GUI.
        So it is optional in both, albeit more optional with Linux because the Win32 environment is the default with XP.
  • A rushed list... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by danielrm26 (567852) * on Thursday July 01, 2004 @05:07PM (#9586632) Homepage
    1. Security. // Linux is usually more secure by default and is able to be secured easier due to the fact that users have complete access available to the system

    2. Philosophy. // as a quasi-altruistic community, the Linux world often has Google-like aspirations regarding concepts of free information and such - as opposed to views that are arguably centered on money alone

    3. Stability. // most uptimes in Linux are measured in months and years rather than days and weeks (with exceptions, of course), and the GUI being a completely separate component from the kernel helps this greatly

    4. Cost. // nuff' said

    Those are just a few for starters...
    • by elmegil (12001)
      Are you saying an admin user doesn't have full access to the windows registry? Of course they do! And it's so easy to just ... wait.

      Of course, winding my way through half a dozen different Ways To Do It [tm] trying to find the one that works on THIS flavor of Linux as opposed to the last one I used isn't much better.

    • Re:A rushed list... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ejaw5 (570071)
      5. Efficiency.

      I've yet to place a serious bet with any Windows(tm) fanboy, but lets say you just loaded to the harddrive 300 vacation photos from the digital camera and the task is to scale them all to say, 800x600 pixels. Under Linux, with ImageMagick installed (usually is), all one has to do is:

      cd /path/to/photos/
      mogrify --resize 800x600 *

      and get a cup of coffee while the computer churns away for a few minutes.

      Now, under windows, what other option do you have besides opening all 300 photos in a photo
      • by Alpha State (89105)
        You do exactly the same thing, the only difference is you have to install ImageMagick on Windows. Besides, this has nothing to do with the kernel.

        Now if you want to say Linux is more efficient because you can compile only what you need into the kernel, that would be valid, although I'm not sure if Windows has something like modules.
      • Re:A rushed list... (Score:3, Informative)

        by Qube (17569)

        Open Irfanview [irfanview.com] (free), half a dozen mouse clicks and it's churning away doing the job.

        This is assuming you're not running XP and have the MS Image Resizer PowerToy [microsoft.com] (also free) which makes the job even quicker. Browse to the folder with the photos (usually MyDocs > MyPics > Folder, or it'll be open after the automatic picture transfer has done it's stuff), Ctrl-A, right-click, Resize Pictures, click on Medium (800x600), OK.

        Or just install ImageMagick for windows.

        I'm no windows fanboy, but it's ea

      • by slug359 (533109) * on Thursday July 01, 2004 @05:50PM (#9587133) Homepage
        A single right click [microsoft.com]:
        Image Resizer

        This PowerToy enables you to resize one or many image files with a right-click.
    • by DrEldarion (114072) on Thursday July 01, 2004 @06:02PM (#9587262)
      1. Application Support. // Windows has, by far, the most applications available. What good is an OS if you can't do what you need to on it?

      2. Standard UI. // Windows 95 - XP all have the same UI, and everyone already knows how to use it. How many different UIs have you seen on different Linux boxes? If you took 100 random people and put 50 in front of Linux boxes and 50 in front of Windows boxes, which do you think would be more productive?

      3. Hardware support. // Windows users never need to worry about whether a piece of hardware will work in their system.

      4. Games. // nuff' said.

      Those are just a few for starters...
  • "Both operating systems had their origins in the 1970s and their real birth in the 1990s and have been evolving quickly since then. The two operating systems are very similar from a kernel perspective, because as engineers work on problems they look around to see what's working elsewhere. So you end up with a lot of similarities," said Russinovich.

    That means that it's incredibly hard to say that somebody actually *copied code* from somebody else- they may have just been thinking along the same lines. AdT, are you listening?
  • by prostoalex (308614) on Thursday July 01, 2004 @05:08PM (#9586654) Homepage Journal

    He's kinda right. I work with OpenOffice and Firefox for my basic stuff, and each time I launch those two or am in the middle of something, I have to look at the task bars to remind myself where I am at. User interfaces are so much alike.

    The usual routine is pressing Win+E to launch Windows Explorer, then observe no Windows Explorer window launching, then cuss silently for the bug, then realize it's Red Hat 9 I am in.
    • if you use Gnome you can map the e keys to open up nautilus. All you have to do is open up gconf-editor and edit the /apps/metacity/keybinding_commands/command_1 and set it to nautilus. Then edit /apps/metacity/global_keybindings/ and set it to e and you can use Windows+E to open Nautilus! :)
  • by OpenGLFan (56206) on Thursday July 01, 2004 @05:09PM (#9586655) Homepage
    A Unix-like OS is easily identified by the backspace key not working.
  • by Mateito (746185) on Thursday July 01, 2004 @05:10PM (#9586667) Homepage
    "Duke Nukem Forever" isn't out for windows yet.
  • by Vengeance (46019) on Thursday July 01, 2004 @05:10PM (#9586679)
    With Linux (or BSD), I'm not forced into running a GUI on a server. All services and subsystems are configurable via whatever text editor I find handy. Installing software (except perhaps kernels) doesn't require rebooting the system.
  • Linux in general (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LaserLyte (725803) * on Thursday July 01, 2004 @05:11PM (#9586690)
    I have to agree here. Linux is becoming more and more a "desktop" operating system. Default installs with lots of bloat and installed services. One of the reasons I try to avoid using mainstream software... besides any security (etc.) advantages, is because I like being a geek and doing things the hard way :). I like to get my hands dirty. I also like powerful, flexible software that does the job over fancy GUIs and the like. But, it seems Linux is drifting away in the direction of Windows.

    HOWEVER, one of the reasons the Linux community has become so splintered (different distros, etc.) is because people are taking Linux in different directions. SuSE, LinSpire, and many other commercial providers are trying to make Linux a friendly, easy-to-use experience. Whilst Slackware and Debian are sticking to their roots.

    As a side note: BSD is a server OS (no question about it). Windows is a desktop OS (being twisted into a server platform). But which is Linux?
  • by Platinum Dragon (34829) on Thursday July 01, 2004 @05:12PM (#9586702) Journal
    ...that, to me, separate Linux (and, by extension, BSD) from Windows

    1) A monolithic kernel that can be customized and tailored by any end user willing to take the plunge, or at least just compile from source.

    2) A variety of command shells that are intended to be used as full-fledged operating environments, without the need for a GUI.

    (ObDisclaimer: haven't read the article, probably won't)

    Some of the windowing environments and GUI-based programs try to emulate the Windows look-n-feel, but I haven't run across many things in the rest of Linux-based operating systems that can be thought of as copied from Windows... well, except for the embarrassingly registry-like GConf2 database (the first time I used the graphical gconftool to change spatial Nautilus back to usable-for-me Nautilus, I nearly regurgitated at the bad memories it brought back).

    I think this guy might as well say any operating system "copies" things from Windows, Mac OS, and every other operating system.
  • monolithic (Score:5, Funny)

    by captnjameskirk (599714) on Thursday July 01, 2004 @05:12PM (#9586711)
    He says in the article: "Both kernels are monolithic". I thought the Windows kernel was monopolithic.
  • Repeat After Me (Score:3, Interesting)

    by pnatural (59329) on Thursday July 01, 2004 @05:15PM (#9586741)
    Linux only looks like Windows(tm).

    Linux only looks like Windows(tm).

    Linux only looks like Windows(tm), and then, only sometimes.

    Seriously, Gnome is not Linux, KDE is not Linux. The ever-increasing familiar Linux desktop is not the actual operating system, mmmmkay?

    There are dramatic differences in the underpinnings of both desktops. More striking is the philosophical difference. From http://www.faqs.org/docs/artu/ch01s06.html [faqs.org]:
    Rule of Modularity: Write simple parts connected by clean interfaces.
    Windows rarely does this.
    Rule of Clarity: Clarity is better than cleverness.
    Now we don't have access to the Windows source, so we can't really say. But we can easily surmise the worst, given it's behavior.
    Rule of Composition: Design programs to be connected to other programs.
    Not on any MS platform, at least not without using a protocol or other IPC/RPC devised by MS.
    Rule of Parsimony: Write a big program only when it is clear by demonstration that nothing else will do.
    No MS program manager has ever heard these words.
    Rule of Robustness: Robustness is the child of transparency and simplicity.
    Explains Windows. Perfectly.

  • by olethrosdc (584207) on Thursday July 01, 2004 @05:26PM (#9586879) Homepage Journal

    The article says, and I quote:

    Meanwhile Linux, noted Russinovich, owes a great deal to the work of Andrew Tanenbaum, who created the Unix-like Minix operating system for educational purposes. Although Linux creator Linux Torvalds
    readily admits [zdnet.co.uk] that he based his work on Minix, both he and Tanenbaum refute claims that Torvalds borrowed more than he admitted.

    The link to 'readily admits' points to another ZDNet article which says nothing of the kind. I take it that the AdT institute's FUD is spreading rapidly for some reason. People have to understand that just because someone spreads FUD, that does not turn an undisputed fact into a contested issue. Jesus.

  • "layered services" (Score:3, Insightful)

    by wobblie (191824) on Thursday July 01, 2004 @05:28PM (#9586909)
    He states "layered services" will become what's important, but to linux users, that was what was important all along. No one really cared that much about the kernel (aside from hardware support), it was the unix shell and cli utilities that we wanted. It was the horrible "let me do everything for you" crap built into everything that is windows; it was the nice packaging systems (debian, gentoo) that windows can't even remotely match to this day.

    It was always about the layered services, and always will be, to the majority of users - the users are what's changing ...

  • Some observations.. (Score:5, Informative)

    by wfberg (24378) on Thursday July 01, 2004 @05:32PM (#9586956)
    Mark Russinov is the guy from wininternals who have some very cool utilities [sysinternals.com] for windows - frequently mentioned in the microsoft knowledge base. If you're looking for windows utilities to show processes, logged on users, open file handles/mutexes etc., don't look no further.

    Having said that, the talk was about the kernel. Obviously the differences between a GNU/linux distribution and a Windows variant run very deep.

    My pet peeve about windows is the registry. Sure, the staggering number of sometimes quite byzantine file formats of all those different /etc/ and ~/.somethingrc files can be quite daunting, but it's so much better than the registry in real life situations where things can go wrong and you want to edit stuff by hand or restore stuff, it's just not funny.

    The biggest difference in the kernel would have to be security. Windows has a lot riding on their weird security system with it's SIDs and groups (which isn't enough to actually lock down your users, you need to use funky policies for that), whereas linux usually tries to get by with a simple uid/gid combination. Of course, if you'd want to, you could SELinux the kernel up beyond recognition, when it comes to security. (Try to do that on windows).

    Also, printerdrivers don't run in Ring 0. They do on NT (and on windows 2000/XP as well, if you install old drivers. There's no warning or nothing. Yay.)
  • by sw155kn1f3 (600118) on Thursday July 01, 2004 @05:33PM (#9586965)
    Mark Russinovich is well-known NT kernel expert and I respect him. Summary posted here is just plain misleading and is a flamebait for zealots from both camps. It's just disgusting.

    He doesn't say a thing about user-mode software, usability etc. The article is about kernel differences, so saying "Linux is becoming more and more like Windows" is plain wrong. He doesn't even mention API.

    What article actually's talking about is how various successful ideas in kernel co-relate in windows kernel and linux kernel and how windowing is handled. He talks about pros(good remoting) and cons(all calls are actually messages) of X Windows.

    And he says "Security was also another area where there significant differences remain between the two operating systems. But ultimately, said Russinovich, the gap between the two operating systems will continue to narrow to a point where their underlying kernel becomes irrelevant."

    WTF the article poster pulled that "He says the only current difference is 'how windowing is handled.'"

    Well... I cannot really express how I feel about such misleading posts slip. Especially if it's about GOOD people and experienced coders like Mark is.
  • I hope he's right (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Qwavel (733416) on Thursday July 01, 2004 @06:35PM (#9587545)

    Change is very difficult - that's what lock-in is all about. Sit an intelligent Windows user or developer down on debian and they will be completely lost. Soon they'll be back on Windows.

    So, since the vast majority of potential Linux users are only familiar with Windows, Linux must become more like Windows (at least in terms of interfaces) if it wants to grow.

    It doesn't mean that the Windows' way was better - better has nothing to do with it. The Windows' way is simply more familiar, and that is very important.
  • WinUx (Score:4, Insightful)

    by steeviant (677315) on Thursday July 01, 2004 @07:44PM (#9588029)
    It's no secret that Linux (like most other operating systems) is moving closer to Windows in many respects, but the article seems to ignore the fact that Windows has been steadily moving closer to UNIX as well.

    Since it's introduction, NT has grown POSIX compliance, terminal services, adopted parts of the BSD TCP/IP stack, and now even has a free UNIX emulation layer available directly from Microsoft in the form of Services for UNIX.

    It's great to see that Operating Systems are adopting things that work from each other, but there's certainly no grounds to say that either Windows or Linux is clearly superior in every respect and the other is playing catch-up, which is what this guy seems to be implying.
  • preemptive kernel (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sagei (131421) <rloveNO@SPAMrlove.org> on Thursday July 01, 2004 @07:46PM (#9588042) Homepage

    "I also pointed out that a pre-emptible kernel is a lot more responsive to a high priority thread," said Russinovich, moving on to his next target. "The Linux kernel 2.6 was made fully pre-emptible."

    I can personally promise that the preemptability of Windows was not a factor in the desire to code a preemptive kernel or its eventual design.

  • by mabu (178417) on Thursday July 01, 2004 @11:39PM (#9589367)
    It's quite ironic, that one of the nice things about Windows historically was the notion that installation of applications was somewhat standardized: you just run SETUP or stick the disk in and it would automatically install and guide you through the process.

    Nowadays, installing a Windows app is anything but easy; you have to shut down everything on the computer and reboot at least once. Un-installing applications is 'iffy' at best, and if something goes wrong, or you need to migrate to another machine or hard drive, most users have to trash everything and re-install everything from scratch.

    In reality, Unix has become a lot more standardized and consistent in terms of application management, installation and migration. It's really a lot easier now to remove an app from Unix, whereas with Windows, you never know if you could ever remove a program without leaving tons of remnants and agents clogging things up.

No man is an island if he's on at least one mailing list.

Working...