Windows is a commonly used desktop operating system started by Bill Gates in 1983 AD. Windows kickstarted the desktop computer scene and have dominated the field ever since.
Similarly, in 1991, Linus Torvalds started an open-source competitor operating system called Linux. Since then, Linux has managed to completely dominate the servers and embedded devices. Linux powered Android OS occupies a large part of the mobile OS market, whereas Windows phones failed miserably.
However, Windows barely has any competition in the Desktop arena even after 35+ years. What edge does Windows OS have over Linux to still be dominant in this field? Let’s explore some of the reasons:
1. Drivers support
One of the major selling points of Windows is support for drivers. No matter what kind of headphones, printer, speaker or other peripheral devices you have, it just works on Windows with little to no setup.
Contrarily, a Linux user with a lot of peripherals will have to spend a lot of time trying to get them to work on Linux.
This is because the driver companies are very reluctant to spend their resources on supporting drivers for Linux. They will develop them for Windows only and call it a day. The lack of proper support for drivers becomes more painful for things like GPU, Dual Monitors and similar hardware additions.
If you are a gamer then Windows is the best OS for you. Major game companies often only target Windows for their triple A titles. With games stores having endless catalog of games and gaming community with a variety of mods, cheats, etc Windows offers a great ecosystem for gamers. Also, Microsoft’s Xbox integration enables Windows users to perform cross-platform purchases and play.
Similarly, due to drivers and related setup working seamlessly, you can fully utilize your hardware capabilities for the optimum gaming experience.
The gaming scene on Linux has improved a lot in recent days. Steam by Valve Corp has put significant effort into bringing games to Linux. The new compatibility layer “Proton” enables users to play many triple-A titles limited to Windows on Linux as well. However, the gaming experience on Linux and Windows is simply incomparable. The catalog offered by Steam is still minuscule compared to Windows. Hardware support and integration is still inferior and support for your gaming peripherals is still hard to achieve on Linux.
3. Ease of Use
Windows has been dominating the home and corporate desktop market since decades all around the globe. Anyone exposed to a computer most probably worked with Windows OS. This global adoption has helped Windows to be a part of a computer culture. Thus, Windows OS does not seem foreign and clueless to use and since everybody around you uses it, its easier to get along with.
Many computer institutes also use Windows to teach any type of course. Similarly, knowing Windows software like Office Suite, Accounting programs, and digital editing programs will help you with your day-to-day job in offices.
All consumer and corporate software are primarily Windows focused. The vast range of vital software including MS Office Suite, Skype, Teams, Adobe suite, etc are Windows only.
Similarly, niche software like AutoCAD and 3D modelling programs that people on academics rely on run only on Windows. Apart from these, there are myriad of software used in day to day lives that only support Windows.
Linux does offer alternatives for the majority of essential software. There is Blender for 3d modelling programs, Open Office for MS office, Gimp for Photoshop and so on. However, these programs and software are not nearly as polished as their Windows counterparts. They aren’t backed by a large corporation and lack funding. Even if you decide to invest time in learning those applications, the skills cannot be transferrable to the software that they replace. Similarly, finding anyone having decent skill set in these software will be very hard if you intend to use them in an office environment.
A prominent feature of Windows OS is its compatibility. Decades-old computer programs from Win95, XP, Vista series and later run on latest Windows 10 with little or no configuration due to its compatibility mode support. Offices have to keep and run legacy software for stability and other purposes, it is very relieving to know that some years old software won’t just stop working because of OS updates.
Windows is the default OS that many PC manufacturers bundle their hardware with. You will most likely void your software warranty if you replace the operating system. Similarly, manufacturers like HP bundle tools for support with the OS itself. However, note that your hardware warranty will remain unaffected and any faulty component will be fixed regardless of the operating system installed. Though almost all software problems can be easily solved with simple troubleshooting efforts, many non-technical users may find it frustrating.
Thus, if getting online/offline software support from your PC manufacturers is important to you, Windows is your best bet.
WSL or “Windows Subsystem For Linux” is a solution offered by Microsoft that allows Windows user to run full-blown Linux distributions on Windows. A virtual machine booted with Linux kernel is tightly coupled with Windows to offer power users and developers to run native Linux tools seamlessly. The plan is to support all native Linux programs, drivers to run on Windows. Although, only terminal interface is supported currently, support for graphical programs is also in the works
With WSL, Windows OS integrates development ecosystem of Linux with its own nice and familiar user experience and seamless support, offering the best of both worlds.