Open Source

Is there really a 'relationship' between Linux and Windows?

How would you characterize the relationship between Windows and Linux? Is it purely adversarial, do they affect one another in substantive ways, or are they just two different tech ideologies? Take the poll!

I read a longish post from Linux Canuck, "How Windows Users are Changing Linux and What We Should Do About It," which attempts to sum up a lot of the issues that have been discussed at length here. The gist of the post is that, as former Windows users wander over to explore Linux, they bring their own Windows prejudices and expectations with them, and that the accommodating Linux community tries to make them feel "at home." Canuck wonders — is the Linux community in danger of being too accommodating — to the point that it attempts to be more Windows-like and loses its own identity?

Linux is already a success. It does not need to become something that it is not. If Linux was to try to compete with Windows in the way that some people imagine, it would lose its identity. It would become mainstream and not be what it is, an alternative to mainstream.

In considering this "danger," Canuck has suggestions — maybe "talking points" is more apt — for how to think about explaining Linux to Windows users and educating them as to why it's better not to do things the Windows way, even if it seems easier or more familiar at first glance.

There's really a lot more material in there than I can fairly attempt to summarize, so I hope you'll hop on over and spend a little time reading it. The post found mostly favor with the commenters with a few quibbles, of course. Considering some of the discussions on TechRepublic's boards, I put together a poll to see what our community really thinks about the relationship between Linux and Windows. I would be interested to see how you characterize the nature of the interaction — or if you think there is any at all.


Selena has been at TechRepublic since 2002. She is currently a Senior Editor with a background in technical writing, editing, and research. She edits Data Center, Linux and Open Source, Apple in the Enterprise, The Enterprise Cloud, Web Designer, and...

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