Saturday, July 04, 2009

Difference between Fedora and Windows

Before we even get into the differences between Fedora and Windows, it might be appropriate to understand the twain and also to identify the similarities between themselves.

Fedora and Windows are both Operating Systems (Oses), implying that they both work towards being the interface between computer hardware and the users. Both Fedora and Windows function as hosts for applications that run on computing machines. Beyond that, the two are quite different from each other, and those are the aspects we will now look into.

Fedora is an RPM-based, general purpose operating system that has been built on top of the Linux kernel. The OS has been developed by the community-supported Fedora Project and sponsored by Red Hat. Windows, on the other hand, is an OS that has been developed from the ground-up by Microsoft Corporation. Between the two, Windows clearly dominates with approximately 90% of the world’s machines estimated to be running on the Windows OS.

The biggest difference between the two would surely be philosophical! To elaborate, the development of Windows has largely remained a close-knit activity profusely guarded and controlled by Microsoft Corporation. Fedora on the other hand, promulgates open-source software development vehemently, and therefore, has been built in such a way that programmers and users from around the world can tweak the OS around, and even customize it to their personal preferences.

Between the two, Windows has had a much longer legacy than Fedora. The first version of Windows, Windows 1.0 was released way back in November 1985. On the other hand, Fedora Core 1, the first version of Fedora, came out only in November 2003, full 18 years later. Subsequently, Fedora has seen much more frequent release versions than Windows. Virtually every 6 months see a new version of Fedora being launched. Windows on the other hand had Windows Vista released commercially at a retail level in January 2007, with the next version, called Windows 7, slated for a 2009 holiday season release. This is again to do with the source model of the respective Oses; because Fedora remains open-source, rapid changes and frequent, new releases are inevitable.

Security aspects are key to both the Oses but the way the same are executed vary. Broadly, one can safely conclude that Fedora has been more upbeat on the security front than Windows, in spite of the latter’s long legacy. In fact, security is key to Fedora. One of its primary security features is Security-Enhanced Linux, which is a Linux attribute that implements an array of security policies, including obligatory right of entry controls, through the use of Linux Security Modules (LSM) in the Linux kernel. Windows, on the other hand, has been prone to numerous security breaches from time to time, and its reaction to the same has been more reactive than proactive. The fact that it is vastly popular and in use most frequently, make it a recurrent target of computer worms and virus writers.

In conclusion, one can safely state that the two differ in terms of philosophy, cost, ease of use, flexibility and firmness with each seeking to perk up in their professed feeble areas.

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