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Linux vs Windows – The Practical Differences in 2021

Are you a Windows user looking for reasons to give Linux a go? This article explores why you might make Linux your operating system of choice over Windows. Or the opposite, if you’re into that sort of thing.

First, let’s look at what makes Windows Windows and why people use it.


For better or worse, Windows is the most popular operating system for desktop computers – and has been for decades.

Being the most popular operating system for so long, lots of software has been written for it. Most importantly, Microsoft’s own Office suite and Adobe’s creative suite run on Windows and have become the industry standard for their categories.

However, that popularity has a downside – Windows is the most common target for malware and has historically been vulnerable because of its focus on backward compatibility – keeping old, broken parts of the system alive just so that old business applications written decades ago can be run on the platform (looking at you, Internet Explorer).

Windows is a paid, closed source, commercial product. The source code is a (somewhat) closely kept Microsoft secret – so if there’s a security hole, the only way it gets fixed is if someone in Microsoft spots it or a nefarious hacker finds it first.

Why Would You Use Windows?

Games. Microsoft Office. Adobe Suite. These are the three demons you must slay to leave the Windows world.

It’s not all bad, though. Windows has come a long way and is a perfectly fine general use desktop operating system. If you’re looking for more advanced tools, Windows can now run Linux software via the Windows Subsystem for Linux, too.

Obviously, I prefer Linux, but it’s worth pointing out that Windows is fit for purpose – no need to drag your Windows machines to the curb unnecessarily.

Linux (Yay!)

Rather than repeat myself, check out our article on why you should use Linux in 2021.

To sum it up, Linux is the most popular operating system for servers (and mobile devices – via Android, which is built on Linux). That popularity in the server category has made it popular with computer enthusiasts and developers. It’s got lots of free software, which is often just as good as those big three mentioned above.

Why Would You Use Linux Instead of windows?

Security. Stability. Price (it’s free).

Linux provides a rock-solid foundation for developing or hosting your own software in a variety of programming languages.

Like Windows, Linux also has great software (if you aren’t worried about Microsoft Office and Adobe stuff).

Linux has started growing as a gaming platform and will continue to do so – check out our article on gaming on Linux.

If you’re running an old version of Windows (any version that isn’t Windows 10) – your system is out of date, no longer receives security patches, and is woefully insecure.

Switching to Linux is a free upgrade to an OS that isn’t full of yawning security holes.

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I'm Brad, and I'm nearing 20 years of experience with Linux. I've worked in just about every IT role there is before taking the leap into software development. Currently, I'm building desktop and web-based solutions with NodeJS and PHP hosted on Linux infrastructure. Visit my blog or find me on Twitter to see what I'm up to.

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