The debate about the supported hardware and device drivers of Linux and Windows has lasted for several years. Linux is the operating system of computers that is built under the open and free software distribution and development. The most significant component of Linux is the Linux Kernel that was first released in 1991 (Carswell, Jiang & Freese, 2012). Windows, on the other hand, are a series of operating systems developed by the Microsoft Company, marketed and sold.
Linux and Windows have different methods of creating their drivers and implementing them on operating systems. When using windows, Microsoft writes generic drivers that help to ensure that users of windows can get up and running and then drivers supplied by third parties can be installed to maximize their performance (Carswell, Jiang & Freese, 2012). On the other hand, Linux includes all drivers in the Linux Kernel and devices are identified and the appropriate devices are activated on the fly (Economides, 2005). Compared to Windows, Linux does not have third parties to supply drivers. However, third parties can be contacted if a proprietary driver is required. The third party drivers are installed manually just like in the case of windows, but such cases are rare.
The driver support is Linux is also excellent. However, there are cases where people complain that their PC’s are not supported by Linux and that Linux does not have an excellent hardware support. This is, however, the opposite as the order of development from hardware to software is never put into consideration. The hardware is always the first to be developed then the software is modified to be compatible with the hardware. The Kernel development team does not take time to install drivers into the Kernel. When it comes to windows, manufacturers of the hardware devices ensure that are easily available for customers of windows to download and utilize almost at the same time the hardware is released into the market (Carswell, Jiang & Freese, 2012).
Linux can also be easily set up because it always does not require third party drivers. The ease can be seen in the installation of a printer in Linux as it does not require a CD to be installed. However, when using AT&T mobile broadband card on windows XP, the operating system prompts for an administrator password and reboots the device. This is after installing the AT&T software along with its drivers. This is because windows needed an administrator access to allow for installation of other software even though the AT & T was already working. The same scenario is experienced with a USB printer on windows XP. Windows prompts for an administrative password. Linux bypasses all installation issues with drivers that are inside the Kernel. The Kernel loads modules and drivers as required without an association with the needed users (Economides, 2005).
Windows also has a problem when it comes to Windows 7 64-bit and Intel 82568 network card which is common in desktops and laptops. The main problem is that the NIC drops its connection randomly and fails to link with other switches immediately causing the log on process of windows to lag. It has a thread that has failed to have any solution or conclusion. Users have posted this problem occasionally, but nobody has come up to fix the issue. Linux devices, on the other hand, rarely have these issues. Thread posts are used in reporting and fixing the problem together bug trackers such as Debian, Ubuntu and Red Hat. The Red Hat lets users run their bug reports and fixes them if they want. When it comes to Windows, users would first have to search the Microsoft site to check whether the bug report has been delivered to Microsoft and if they have managed to fix it (Economides, 2005). The users would then have to have to look for the hardware manufacture to see if they can fix the problem.
Windows does not have a central policy of handling bug reports, and this often leads to finger pointing. Linux, therefore, is far much better than Windows from the points mentioned above.
- Carswell, R., Jiang, S., & Freese, T. (2012). Guide to parallel operating systems with Windows 7 and Linux. Boston, MA: Course Technology, Cengage Learning.
- Economides, N. (2005). Linux vs. Windows: A Comparison of Application and Platform Innovation Incentives for Open Source and Proprietary Software Platforms. New York: New York University School of Law.