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Red Hat Linux Vs. Windows Xp Pro

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Red Hat Linux vs. Windows XP Pro

Both Windows and Linux come in many different flavors, while Microsoft has all of the flavors dealing with Windows, Linux could be talking about Red Hat, SuSE, Mandrake or a handful of others. This has always been one of the most confusing issues for users that are new to Linux, which is why it is important to point out that all those different flavors use the same kernel, which is the heart of the Operating System. Where these flavors differ is with the add-on software that is provided, the Graphical User Interface, the price and even the technical support. In this paper Team A has decided to compare the Office desktop versions between the Microsoft Windows XP Professional and the Red Hat Linux.

Cost Comparisons

There are a lot of factors that enter the fray when comparing costs between two systems. One method of comparison is using the concept of Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). TCO identifies all of the primary elements that are associated with a capital purchase, such as a computer system over a period of time. The total cost of ownership can be determined by adding the "hard" costs such as the initial price, hardware, upgradeability, scalability, installation, reliability, software licenses, legal fees, training, system administration, support and custom software development. These costs are in addition to the "soft" costs, which are more difficult to identify, such as productivity, ease of integration with other systems, backward compatibility with older systems, staffing with knowledgeable personnel and overall employee motivation (Cost of Ownership, 2003).

Since this comparison is being done on office products for a desktop computer, a lot of the elements in the total cost of ownership are too complex for such a small system. Price is one element that cannot be overlooked in any situation. As of January 2005, the upgrade edition for the operating system Windows XP Professional edition was selling for about $200 USD and a brand new installation would fetch about $300 USD. The addition of the Microsoft Office Professional Edition 2003 to the system would add another $330 USD to the total price if it were an upgrade or $500 USD if it is a new installation (, 2005). This package includes Access 2003 (desktop database), Excel 2003 (spreadsheet), Outlook 2003, Outlook 2003 with Business Contact Manager (messaging client), PowerPoint 2003 (presentations), Publisher 2003, Word 2003 (word processor), XML (Extensible Markup Language) support and IRM (information rights management) content creation and authoring.

Looking at an operating system and an office product from Red Hat, it is possible to get both of them at no charge. The Fedora Project is a Red Hat sponsored project that supplies an operating system for a non-critical computing environment (, 2005) coupled with OpenOffice, which is a multiplatform and multilingual office suite ("", 2005). includes a word processor, a spreadsheet, a database, and a presentation creator.

One thing to remember when thinking about upgrading to newer versions of the Microsoft platforms is that costs of licenses, upgrades, software assurances and other related expenses have to be borne every time that a change is made. The only cost that migrating to Linux will bring is the initial cost, if there happens to be one.

Market Share

It is very difficult to find an article or a study about market share that is not biased in one form or another. There can be many reasons for that phenomenon such as considering who is funding the study, what products are being compared, what environment is being used, what and how are the criteria being measured.

This paper is comparing a proprietary product versus an open source product, which makes it difficult because obtaining numbers on open source products is almost impossible. One can measure the number of downloads for the free product, but howis the distribution measured after the product was downloaded? The W3 School has made an attempt to give statistics on the more important operating system platforms that are in existence today ("Browser Statistics", 2005). Their results illustrate that the Microsoft's windows family counts for about 90 percent of the operating systems while Linux holds a bit over 3 percent of the market share.

Al Gillen of IDC market research mentions that from the most recent figures that are available dating from 2002, Linux had a 2.6 percent share of the desktop market compared to the 93 percent share that the Microsoft Windows family held ("ZDNet News, 2004).

It is difficult to calculate how many people use because in addition to the many major distributors such as Red Hat, Fedora, Debian, Mandrakesoft, Linspire, Novell that distribute it as a delivered product there have been over 40 million downloads from the website. Furthermore, since works on every major platform it is impossible to associate it with only one operating system. IDC and Gartner research firms suggest that can lay claim to a larger part of the market share in the overall office market suite, maybe even 10 percent ("", 2005).

Hardware Requirements

File Processing

Programming Capabilities

As vastly dissimilar the two operating systems are, it is surprising how alike Red Hat and Windows are in terms of their programming capabilities. Many of the most common languages are completely supported on both systems, either natively through the operating system itself or through third party add-ons.

Beginning with the most basic and likely the most familiar to any systems administrator, the terminal shell on both systems share many traits. The most common shell for the Red Hat Linux system is the bash, which stands for the Borne-Again Shell ("The GNU Borne-Again Shell Language", 1996). The shell program that comes standard with any Windows XP installation is simply known as command.exe.

The commands each of the two shells implement are very different. For instance, using bash to list all of the files in a directory, the user would use the command "ls"; with the command.exe shell, the command would be "dir". Although each command performs the same function, the options for each command are very different.

While the commands for each shell language are different, it is interesting to note that the syntax and shell grammar for both languages is very similar. For instance, many of the processes of controlling I/O (i.e.



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