What can Windows do that Linux can’t?
The main difference is not in the environment itself but in the software catalog available for each operating system (= OS = Operating System). The “good” developers tend to think of everyone and will propose a version for all the most used OS, i.e. Windows, OSx (Mac) and some Linux (yes, because there is not only one), but also iOS or Android.
But as for everything, money is the key, and if you develop a software (or a game) to hope to sell it, you first aim at profitability, and adding a new platform is not free. Windows is still far ahead of Linux for the general public (it’s less true in the industry) and it’s therefore the OS chosen “by default”.
To answer the question, in absolute terms: nothing. Linux can do and already does everything that Windows can do (and often less well for Windows)… EXCEPT that it can’t run THAT software or THAT game you absolutely want :/
So, to choose between Windows or Linux, it’s all about your use : If you find all the software you need, then both are equivalent. Choosing one or the other comes down to asking yourself the following questions.
1) What software/games do I need? For the software, except when you have really professional and precise needs, Linux offers what you need to do everything you want. For a work environment in office automation, Linux will allow to have a much more customizable solution and thus adapted to you and not the opposite. For image processing, video editing, the software exists but is often more powerful -and very expensive- on the Windows side. For games, it’s much more complicated, especially because of DirectX, a kind of sub-software dedicated to 2D and 3D display, which is grafted between the OS, the graphics card driver and the game. Because even if DirectX has its equivalent in the free world: Open GL, DirectX is proprietary and fiercely attached to the Windows world. And often, once again, the default choice of game developers. If the game developer chooses OpenGL, we have more chance to see it working on Linux, otherwise, it’s complicated… Sometimes there are solutions, but you have to get your hands dirty (Wine, PlayOnLinux…)
2) on which platform do I feel better? Ergonomics, aesthetics, habits… People have often been used to Windows, and changing is necessarily relearning. The good news is that there is not only one Linux, there are many. All different, so it’s easier to find what you want than to be forced to stick to what Microsoft decides. There are Windows clones that are quite similar, and others with a very different interface (who said you needed icons, or even a mouse?)
3) You want to be part of the free movement? Go for Linux. Three main advantages:
a) it’s almost always free. And really. You’re not the product, and nobody steals your information or forces you to see infamous ads all day long.
b) it’s open-source, so you can know how it’s made… If you know how it’s made, but it ensures that the community can go digging into the code of the applications to make sure that the contract is well fulfilled, and that there are no bugs or traps.
c) you can become an actor of this great community and add your stone to the building, even if it’s only a grain of sand, each line of code counts 🙂
I use Windows and Linux every day, at work and at home, on several devices. The question can be seen from 3 angles:
- As an operating system, there is nothing that Windows can do that Linux cannot, absolutely nothing! I would even say that Linux is superior in many aspects, including security and performance.
- As a software ecosystem for the end user, there is no denying the obvious: Windows offers a much wider and richer range of software. Here I’m talking about a strict comparison of the quality of the existing offer, regardless of whether it’s paid, open source or any other criteria. Personally, the two reasons (or software) that make me still use Windows are Photoshop and Office. I know that there are Gimp and LibreOffice: they are powerful, complex and free programs, but in all honesty they are not comparable with their Windows competitors. (This remark, however, does not apply to infrastructure software and developer tools, where the Linux ecosystem tends to prevail).
- As a user interface, Windows 10, in my opinion, wins. Gnome 2 and especially KDE are the two flagship desktop environments under Linux. They can be customized to the extreme. KDE in my opinion can outperform the Windows interface in beauty and power. The problem is that it requires a certain patience that not everyone has. Whereas almost everyone is used to the Windows interface. Having said that, the user interface remains a secondary criterion because I have seen that with practice, most people can easily adapt.
- Forcing you to buy it when you don’t want it
- Deprive you of your computer for a good half hour (more if you have the audacity to do a hard reboot) with a clear message like “Windows is working on features”, when you have just received a very urgent job
- To constantly put obstacles in your way even once you have fired it, because Microsoft makes the rain and the sun shine from top to bottom of the PC industry. Concrete example: UEFI that doesn’t let you boot your computer the way you want
- Forcing you to do tedious maneuvers with the mouse when with Linux you could just run a script
- Forcing you to work with crazy file formats (e.g. OOXML, i.e. MSOffice) because Microsoft is also the king of standardisation offices
- Convince many Linux/Unix application developers to abandon their good principles to do Windows-style mega-cuts.
So to summarize, if you are still hesitating to take the step to Linux, do it, you won’t regret it, unless you have a very very specific software need.