taz asked in Computers & InternetSoftware · 1 decade ago

If Linux based operating systems are free why is windows still more popular?

If open source based OS are available why do people still go for the pricey ones?

10 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Too many reasons to list.

    I'll try to tackle the major ones, though:

    1) Most people don't realize they're paying for Windows. As far as they're concerned, Windows is the computer (or came with it, if they're informed enough to realize "PCs" are PCs that come with the Windows operating system and not just non-Macs).

    2) The large marketshare of Windows brings more support. More support keeps it at a larger marketshare. Since Windows is so popular, hardware manufacturers would be stupid not to create Windows drivers, and software vendors would be stupid not to create Windows versions of their software (Can you imagine how the iPod would be doing today if Apple had said "No, we're not going to make iTunes for Windows"?).

    So that means some hardware won't work for non-Windows operating systems. That also means some software won't work for non-Windows operating systems. You can see even on Yahoo! Answers that unbiased opinions about Macs tout their advantages but also mention that Macs can't run Windows-only software unless Windows is actually installed on the Mac.

    If you want to use AutoCAD, you're using Windows. If you want to play the latest graphics-intensive commercial games, you're using Windows. Windows has lock-in.

    3) People don't like change. Again, even though a lot of people consider Macs to be "easy" to use, you still see trepidatious Windows users here on Yahoo! Answers afraid of change and wondering if they'll be able to learn a Mac or if it'll be too difficult. People are used to what they're used to. At least most people have seen a Mac computer... and then you still have people afraid of Macs? Imagine trying to get them to switch to Linux, then, when there is no Linux equivalent of the Apple store.

    4) Linux is relatively unknown. Most people haven't even heard of Linux. And if they have, it's most likely in the context of servers, not home computing with desktops and laptops. I know a great little restaurant in my neighborhood. But more people probably eat at Olive Garden. Is it because Olive Garden has better food or more reasonable prices? No. It's because they've heard of Olive Garden. Same deal with Windows - name brand recognition.

    5) Linux isn't advertised. Microsoft has spent hundreds of millions of dollars telling you Windows is a life without walls, telling you that Mojave is Vista without the bad rap. Apple has spent probably just as much telling you that Macs are hip and cool and (Windows) PCs are unhip and uncool. What have people heard about Linux? Nothing. Maybe they've heard it's a geek's OS that requires typing commands in a terminal. Yeah, great advertising.

    6) Linux's preinstalled options are limited. Yes, it was a step in the right direction for Dell to start up a Ubuntu line. Yes, now all the major OEMs (barring Apple and Samsung) now have netbooks featuring some form of Linux. But if you look at how those netbooks have been implemented and marketed, it's been kind of half-a s s e d. So people see that there's Linux on there but have no idea what Linux is. They just see that it's cheaper. Meanwhile the top of the page says "Dell Recommends Windows Vista" and "Do you want to upgrade (from Linux) to Windows XP?" So people get the impression that Linux is this second-rate thing. Not only that, but most Linux distros that are preinstalled are crippled in some way (limited repositories, bad interface, bad security) or not tested well with the hardware. So Windows users bring these things home, see that they can't install their Windows programs on them, get confused by the interface, and then return them. Who would blame them?

    And if you don't get the limited preinstalled options, you're basically gambling when it comes to hardware compatibility. Do you think people who experience problems with Linux installations they do themselves think "Oh, it'd be just as hard to install Windows if I didn't have the proper drivers, and this isn't the fault of Linux anyway, since some hardware manufacturers like Broadcom and Lexmark don't support Linux"? No, they think "Linux sucks. Why is this so hard?" And then they give up.

    7) Lastly but least importantly, Linux isn't perfect. There are flaws. There are many things Linux does well, but it has its pros and cons, just as Windows and Mac do. Some people may genuinely have given Linux a shot and decided it doesn't fit their needs. For example, for 99% of software you want to install, software installation is as easy as pie in Linux, since the package manager takes care of everything, but if the software you want is obscure and outside the software repositories... good luck compiling it yourself!

  • 4 years ago

    Linux/Unix is an operating system (Kernel). Ubuntu, Debian and Fedora are considered Linux distributions. This works because Linux is an open source environment, similar to the Mozilla Project (Firefox, Thunderbird, etc.) this means that anybody can take the Linux kernel and modify it, essentially making their own unique OS built around the Linux kernel. This is how Ubuntu, Debian and Fedora came into play. Developers took the Linux kernel and modified it, creating their own unique OS. Ubuntu is the most widely accepted Linux distribution and is considered the biggest Windows competitor as far as Linux operating systems are concerned. There are hundreds of distributions, each serving a purpose and each very unique and different. There is much more that goes into it than just what's been said here but I'll keep it very basic. If you've never used Linux before I would recommend using Ubuntu. Hope this helps! Shawn

  • 1 decade ago

    Most PC's have come with Windows pre-installed for years.Therefore most people learn how to do things using Windows and the majority are, after years of learning the Windows way are unwilling to spend more time learning the Linux way. There is a misconception, propagated by ignorance and dirty tricks that Linux is difficult and just for techies and geeks. Most modern GNU/Linux distributions e.g. Ubuntu, Mint, Fedora etc. are Very stable, secure and easy to learn. Ubuntu for example is constantly updated and a new release made available every six months making it in my opinion just as much "supported" than Windows or Mac. Another advantage is, when you update you are not only getting the latest patches to your Operating system you are also getting the latest patches to all your software keeping your whole system completely up to date. There is excellent community spirit making the forums highly active and a good place to get help if/when you get stuck. Linux users are also almost immune to computer viruses as 99.9% affect Windows only.

    On the down side, Hardware support is not as complete as Windows, due to the closed source nature of Windows dominance. This is beginning to change thanks to recent court rulings and, I beleive the popularity of Ubuntu. More drivers and more importantly source code is being released by hardware manufacturers.

    Windows dominance is, I believe coming to an end (the Vista release has definitely not helped it)

  • 1 decade ago

    Same reason why more people use Internet Explorer than any other browser. Even though there are many browsers that are far far better.

    Windows (like Internet Explorer) got a better start and increase in popularity when there was little competition. People got used to it and therefore preferred it.

    Microsoft spends billions making sure you see Windows and IE before anything else.

    It wasn't until just a few years ago all computer manufacturers sold only windows. Now they sell linux, but only on a few machines.

    There will come a day when linux is just as well known as windows. Just not today.



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  • 5 years ago

    Linux is simply worse than Windows.

    Linux crashes more than Windows. Linux is not as comprehensive and simply "good" in an "unexplainable" way. With Linux, you cannot install McAfee without malfunctions, meaning you are protected with no firewall unless your network uses a router (a weak firewall in which hackers are making router viruses and router worms). ClamAV provided with Linux is extremely sensitive and perhaps so sensitive it becomes destructive with tons of false positives, even McAfee's launcher executable (McAfee is a trusted company).

  • Oprah
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    well when people buy a computer it usually comes pre installed with windows, the only computers that come pre installed with linux are netbooks but some come pre installed with windows and windows has been around longer for alot of people it is the operating system they are used to and feel comfortable with, linux can be quite intimidating for people that don't know much about computers

  • 1 decade ago

    Because Windows is more user friendly, has official support, and more applications are compatible with windows then linux. Now if you're talking about server OS - Linux is more popular. Its just not popular for regular use.

  • 1 decade ago

    Windows requires fewer keystrokes. This is what most people want...just point and click...done!

    Linux requires you know a whole slew of keyboard commands to work. People's attention spans cannot fathom this. Only the technically-inclined find value to using Linux.

  • 1 decade ago

    so many reasons, compatibility, ease of use, most importantly corporate deals/advertisment

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Xp is more secure

    easier to use

    more customisable

    nearly every bit of software you can buy can run in Xp, whereas linux only has limited software.

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