Comparison between Windows and Unix/Linux operating systems

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Linux
Microsoft Windows
Operating systems
Unix
What are the differences between Linux/Unix and Microsoft Windows? Security differences?

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Not sure if it still holds true, but there used to be much more software available for Windows based systems. With all the open source today that may not be as true. The other thing is I think for years the main target for hackers were Microsoft based systems. This may have been because they were more familiar with the code and there were more target to hack. A lot of people moved to some Linux based network systems because they seemed more secure. It’s not that often you hear of a flaw or bug in a kernel that is being exploited in Linux. It’s mainly Windows exploits.

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  • ToddN2000
    Is there something specific? This is a very broad topic as to how they handle security. Are we looking at PC or network security?
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  • Subhendu Sen
    They are all have good mechanism in respect of security. But as usual, no system is full proof so you never get full satisfaction. If we get 100% satisfaction by using a product, then what about other products. Yes, this is not a few lines of reply. Better come back with more specific query.
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  • TheRealRaven
    In short, everything is different. Code for one doesn't run on the other, so there is no overlap. That's not to say that various types of scripting or interpreted languages or languages such as Java running on a 'virtual machine' can't run the same code; but the scripting shells or the VMs themselves are compiled differently for each OS and don't install on the other.

    They use different file systems, have different authority schemes, provide some security features...

    One of the biggest differences is that most Linux OS code is available for review by researchers, including hackers. That means that they're free to find as many vulnerabilities as they wish. It also means that vulnerabilities are often spotted (and fixes made available) before hackers can figure out how to exploit them.

    But much of Windows OS code is 'proprietary', hidden except for Microsoft employees. Hackers regularly spot Windows vulnerabilities (and create and distribute exploits) before Microsoft learns about them.

    For Linux, a specific security element is that processes can't install programs without explicit permission from system users. If you download a program and try to install it, you will be prompted to enter your password. A malicious function that tries to install a malicious program will cause the same request for password. Unknown programs have difficulty getting installed without the user knowing that it's being attempted.

    As far as how they look, how users interact with them and what actions they can do, both are pretty much the same. But there are many 'flavors' (or distributions or distros) of Linux. Some can be very different from others and from Windows. Different flavors are created for different purposes.

    For example, some versions of Linux run well on older, slower equipment giving extended life to the hardware. The user interface is usually simplified to match less capable graphics hardware, or graphics might be eliminated in favor of a pure text interface. A version was developed that runs on writwatch-sized system.

    The 'open source' nature of much of Linux makes it (relatively) easy for any developer to create a customized version that looks and acts as desired.

    And, of course, Linux can be downloaded and installed by anyone for free as much as you want.
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  • Subhendu Sen
    Moreover Unix is basically a character based OS, while Linux & windows both have GUI interface. Unix is a free/free like variants while Linux/Windows both are expensive. But some Linux variants are free also. This depends on your work culture/demands and your needs.
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  • TheRealRaven
    Of course, ( Linux <> UNIX ), so it's necessary to do a 3-way comparison.
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