Windows vs. Unix – the Forgotten Facts (An Opinion)

    October 11, 2005

“Windows Beat Unix, But It Won’t Beat Linux” makes some valid points, but I think it leaves out one very important thing.

Windows is getting harder to use. (Read “Windows Beat Unix, But It Won’t Beat Linux” here.)

Any typical computer user today (user, not administrator) is just as helpless at the console of a Windows domain server as they would be at any Linux or Unix server. Anyone who actually has some experience in theeir normal OS and knows what they want to accomplish will fumble their way through the foreign server with just about the same difficulty whether they are a Unix geek trying to set up Windows 2003 Server or a Windows admin setting up RedHat AS: they both will have troubles, but they both probably will succeed.

As a related issue, I will note that a lot more so-called Windows admins are really incompetent even in the OS they say they know; I often find people who know far less about Windows than I do, and I consider myself functionally illiterate in Windows. But never mind those sour grapes.

Windows is hard to use, and it’s about to get harder. When Vista starts booting up on shipping hardware, Windows people are going to find a lot of things they know nothing about, and the new restrictions on user privileges are just going to make things more difficult and confusing.

Windows is about to try to grow up and become a real operating system. It may not succeed, but the changes will only increase the difficulty of configuration, troubleshooting and maintenance. Windows is NOT easy, and it’s about to get even harder.

*Originally published at

A.P. Lawrence provides SCO Unix and Linux consulting services