If you consider yourself even slightly tech-savvy, then you will no doubt be aware of the feud between the users of Windows and the users of Linux, a major open-source operating system. While the users of Windows swear by its accessibility and its market domination, the fans of Linux embrace its freedom and its perspective.
Besides the difference in the structure and design of the two operating systems, the biggest difference between the two is their perspectives on how software should be distributed. Microsoft, the company which created Windows, claims that software should be purchased following the rules of a traditional market, while the designers of Linux and supporters of the Open Source Software Initiative believe that designing software should be a collaboration between many different developers and that the code for software should be available to everyone.
Both operating systems clearly have their benefits. Because Windows is so widely used, the majority of software created today is targeted to the software. However, Linux developers have been able to overcome this problem with software such as WINE, which is able to emulate windows and allows the users to run many of the programs designed solely for it.
Linux has been featured prominently in the media in the last couple of years. Many users of Windows are making the switch to Linux instead of upgrading to Windows Vista. Microsoft, is taking note, and has launched several campaigns such as the “Get the Facts” campaign, which claims that Linux is more expensive to maintain than Windows.
It is clear that the struggle of the two sides will continue for a long time to come. Yet with the recent attention that Open Source software and especially Linux has been receiving, it seems that the future is bright for Linux. It will be interesting to see how Microsoft reacts to their biggest threat yet.