what we wanted to test against:
Linux Defeats Microsoft Windows in Top 5
In our top 5 user focused category tests, the RedHat Linux
server wins by a far margin over the exact same configured WindowsXP system.
Linux very easily triumphed in the stability, price, and least pain categories.
test was simply intended to close a debate that had begun in the lunch
room at our favorite IT company. Troy and I had talked about the
top five things end users want from their operating system and which OS
would be best suited. Almost everyone wants stability, performance,
efficiency, good price, and as little pain as possible in their system.
All of a sudden it dawned
on us. Back at the office we had recently installed WindowsXP®
and a RedHat® Linux® server side by side. They were both
installed on the exact same hardware, dated Hewlett Packard computers. They were mirror systems with
absolutely nothing except the OS and applications software distinct.
Troy and I went back and
wrote up a plan to test these two machines side by side.
Stability (days) - length of days before required
reboot or human intervention
Performance (seconds) - speed of the OS load time
from moment of system turn on to ability to start an application
Efficiency (seconds) - speed of commonly used applications,
in this case an empty spreadsheet and new word processing file
Price ($s) - how much it cost to upgrade or purchase
the particular OS in use
Pain (minutes) - how much effort in time it took to
configure the system the first time
Here is how the two systems
faired after we ran them for 90 days. We should point out that the
Linux server was still solid and stable and could have run far beyond the
90 day test period. Now mind you, we were not lab technicians.
We just wanted to see how two different Operating Systems would live side
by side for 90 days. We were shocked what a difference there was.
Over time, Microsoft®
Operating Systems (at least the WindowsXP® tested) utterly failed most
of the tests. Our results are listed below. Again, these are
just the basic stats from our personal tests and we do not publish these
as some form of official challenge to anyone.
In a particularly overt demonstration
of Linux strength, the stat that stands out is in Stability.
This stat was measured in the number of days the machines operated consistantly
and effectively without requiring a reboot or system restart. Older Windows
versions would have shown the blue screen of death (sudden occurance of fatal exception errors
which forced us to reboot the machine), sadly even on the new Windows machine far too frequently we still in every instance had stability issues, and we had to reboot the Windows machine every 3 days due to serious instability. We never rebooted the Linux system.
A real suprise stat to us
was the Pain statistic, which indicated in number of minutes how
long it took to fully install the OS onto the machine and then get it running.
The installation procedure took longer for Windows than for Linux.
This was a shock, but validated the significant progress Linux releases
have made to simplify installation.
The only stat that
was not effected by the 90 day duration was the Price, since that
was a one time instance and thereby a constant. Linux won hands down,
especially considering that SUN's OpenOffice for Linux
is available for free. This must be compared to a Windows
system and the price of MSOffice®. There are a lot of $s saved
in Linux's favor here.
Finally, we put to
bed the challenge that Microsoft runs business related software better.
In fact, the OpenOffice® suite (very similar to Microsoft Office®
) performed better in all aspects including less bugs.
On the WindowsXP® machine both Word and PowerPoint had a number of
bugs with printing, displaying wysiwyg text, and in the case of Word, unexplainable
sudden termination of the program.
Without a question, in our
simple real word test, we watched with our own eyes the benefits of running
Linux over a Microsoft® Operating System. The same hardware,
with very different results after 90 days of use.
This article and the Top
5 test is based on computer consultant opinions and not a conclusive
test. For a realistic evaluation refer to more than one source and
judge for yourself.
We make no claims to the validity of this article.