So why use Linux and not Windows ?
Is one question that maybe asked during the initial stages of this project,
Well I thought in today’s post I would do my best to answer why not Windows?
The real question I guess is, why is only Linux available for single board or development board computers ? – also remember that all versions of Android use the Linux Kernel, so Android is only a version of Linux.
For myself the answer belongs in the area of the basic philosophy behind Microsoft windows and the development group that looks after the Linux platforms.
Linux on one hand has always been an open systems, operating system. As such it has invited flexibility during its history and development.
Linux took its start from a time before Microsoft, from the UNIX-OS world and as such in a culture that viewed operating systems as relating very closely to computer hardware itself.
Microsoft even today stand out almost uniquely as an operating systems developer who detached their operating systems from hardware distribution and as such charge a premium cost for their Windows platform.
Hows that ?
Its hard to remember a time when IBM first owned and developed PC-DOS, which came as a disk included with their PC’s. This was a time when it was taken for granted that when you purchased a computer it came with an operating system embedded or provided on a disk. Larger business computers came with a support contract that provided support for both hardware and related operating system along with free version upgrades.
After all what use was just a computer without an OS that allowed it to function ?
Returning to the reasons behind why Microsoft has mainly lost the market of small devices such as Tablets, Phones and Single board computers?
I feel the reason for this is mainly due to the fact that Microsoft windows at some point lost its connection to (Although it never truly had much!) computer hardware development!
A good example here between Linux and Windows is the fact that during the development of Windows, I think from about Windows 2000 onwards Microsoft removed its windows OS connection to MS_DOS. This left it with an ability to only ever have the full GUI environment present !
This very simple fact left Microsoft with a problem and its one of performance scalability !
When you compare Windows to Linux it will not take you long to come across the ability for Linux to still be installed as a console (Text based !) operating system, in fact regardless of which Linux desktop environment you install the entire system is based on and sits on top of this console text based layer.
The more you study and use Linux you will also come across another interesting fact and its that you can install many different desktop environments, from very basic systems like the original and first mouse based GUI “X-windows” to environments such and GNOME and UNITY which come installed in versions of Linux such as (Fedora, Ubuntu, Red-hat or Suse-linux).
when you first become aware of all these Linux desktop environments along with the fact you get these environment options installable and upgradable for free, you may rightly feel a little cheated that you have upgraded your version of windows through many versions at a premium cost, simply to get a more up-to date look to menus and Icons etc….
So the simple fact is that Linux is a more scalable operating system , one that can be installed as a text based environment (Such as for a server system!), so that all the systems resources can be placed into processing internet/cloud or database services. Beyond this if you need a GUI desktop environment you have a world of choices to make from ones that take few systems resources such as X-WINDOWS to power hungry systems such as (UNITY, GNOME or KDE). You can select a GUI to match your systems resources
For example on the Raspberry pi I have selected a GUI called LXDE and on the Cubietruck I have install a desktop environment called XCFE, both these are about middle of the resources scale and leave plenty of system memory for applications and their development……