16 things I like in Linux which don’t exist in Windows


First I want to make remark that I’m not Linux die-hard, I can work on any OS if necessary, but there are some things which I like in Linux and which I miss when I have to sit on Windows machine.

Lot of people who never try Linux tell me how easy is Windows to work with, this is not true.

Nowadays it’s equally easy to use both Linux and Windows and it’s just matter of stereotype and habits to feel more convenience on one OS vs other.

I used to work on WIndows for decade, then switched on Linux and few months ago my wife asked me to set password on my son’s laptop (to have way to regulate the time he spend in the front of the computer) which had Windows pre-installed when we bought it.

I start searching and I lost several minutes until I find where it was in the Control panel to set password for user. Does this means Windows became less easy to use with the time?

No I just got used to Linux and this is why it seems to me now that Linux is easier to use.

Same is for the Windows users which have not sit on Linux before, they will need couple of weeks to get familiar, then everything will be equally easy to them in both Windows and Linux.

But let’s start with the list:

1. Linux updates and upgrades do not require you to reboot

Re-booting after every software installation or update is very annoying in Windows. I keep wondering why this is not necessary in Linux, but on Windows is rule of tumb – every installation is asking you to re-boot, or after you download the Upgrades annoying window pop up and say – will reboot in 10 minutes, save your work. This is really annoying.

2. No need to install drivers every time you plug in your computer USB device

OK, I understand that there are custom devices which use uncommon drivers like printers, cameras, etc, but why on earth every time you plug in Windows simple mass storage disk drive, or USB-Serial converter, or Mouse, or Keyboard – devices which are standard and are embedded in every Windows OS after W98 it ALWAYS ask for drivers which are already there? Why on Linux I plug the external HHD or Flash drive and it automatically mounts on my computer and I can work with it, while Windows is asking me for drivers and several minutes scans and show me different windows with warnings and Continue buttons like I’m doing something scaring which may ruin my OS??? This is just ridiculous.

3. You can move image/boot-able drive between machines without need for reinstall

Yes! this is something windows users can’t imagine is possible! I do remember back in the dark ages Windows asked me to re-install after I have upgraded the RAM memory size! Now imagine you get your Windows boot-able HDD and plug it on other computer, will it boot? no way!

4. system config in files not registers mess

Now this is one of the most annoying WIndows features – after several months of installing and removing software your registers and windows/system directory becomes so bloated with shared DLLs and mess that some people start making money by writing registry cleaning software!

5. You can’t boot windows from USB Stick

Probably they didn’t find a way to ask you for registration and to collect your money every time they sense this USB is plug to other computer??

6. You cant see this on Windows:

# uptime
15:54PM up 122 days, 11:22, 5 users, load average: 0.12, 0.30, 0.13

every few days if you do not reboot windows machine it starts to act slowly due to the severe memory fragmentation

7. Synaptic Package manager – search and install software with convenience

In Windows of course this is not possible as there are no software repositories – to have access to most significant software packages from one source.

8. In Linux you can download the sources of every software you install

and you can learn how it works, compile and if you want and can you can modify or tailor for your needs, adding new functionality for instance.

9. Tab complete your command in the shell

even if I do not remember the complete command name I just press Tab and it reminds me

10. You can choose from different windows managers

KDE, Gnome, Cinnamon, Enlightenment… you don’t like GUI? no problem, just remove it completely!

11. Linux have no path name length limit

(windows cant handle names bigger than 248 characters)

12. You cant do in Windows

$ find . -type f -exec cat {} \; | grep "search text"

13. Linux has less malware

…as it doesnt execute every file found in the wild

14. no file auto-runs every time you plug new disk

please tell me who else than malware and viruses use this feature?

15. Windows has no “touch” command

why Microsoft? it’s easy to make one

16. I can install Linux on as many computers I want without paying for licensees

this is something I most appreciate, no anti-piracy TV ads, no threats for your business anymore!

Long Live the Freedom! 🙂

28 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. sucotronic
    Sep 18, 2013 @ 17:59:53

    9. you’ve to try Ctrl+R, I’ve found it more useful

    12. grep -r “search text” . (would do the same)

    Don’t forget about being able to give support through simple ssh or that there exits a command for almost every need 😉


    • Dave
      Mar 10, 2018 @ 21:47:02

      If you want a PLUS for linux, RAID is native to LINUX and only available to only high dollar versions of Winders, if you want to build an SSD array for super speed and have the cash you can do so, without the extra expense of fake RAID and real RAID controllers. RAID tools are all already there and easy to manage, add a desktop and play on STEAM if you like games, and choose when you want to run updates that generally take only a minute or two to complete with no reboot unless kernel update. Modify OS at will to increase functionality etc, etc, Been using it for many years. System Z270 Mainboard, 32GB DDR4 3000 RAM, RAID 10 (6 x 2TB HDD’s) I7 7700K processor. No issues


  2. Trackback: 16 things I like in Linux which doesn’t exist in Windows | olimex | En o-cool gubbe från Lo[o]s
  3. Benoît HERVIER
    Sep 18, 2013 @ 18:34:25

    You forgot that amazing :

    select (with mouse) and paste (with scroll whell mouse button) … no need to select with mouse then come back to keyboard to copy/paste 🙂


  4. arokux
    Sep 18, 2013 @ 20:31:34

    5. You can’t boot windows from USB Stick5. You can’t boot windows from USB Stick

    This option is available on some Enterprise editions of Windows.


    • OLIMEX Ltd
      Sep 18, 2013 @ 20:41:43

      never seen this, so this is liensee not locked to particular computer?


    • Wyatt
      Mar 09, 2014 @ 23:21:17

      sure you can Install windows from usb but we are talking about litter ally having the installed OS on the USB disk.This means we can install it and run it anywhere i want. it is really helpful especially if you travel a ton.


  5. kantal
    Sep 18, 2013 @ 20:52:07

    Linux is a swiss army knife , you can tailor Linux for embedded devices with 16Mb RAM or for desktop with full of RAM.


  6. xxx
    Sep 18, 2013 @ 21:27:47

    Where are you getting your facts from? PC magazine of May 1998?
    Not a m$ fanboy here but a lot of these pluses are utterly crap, like can’t boot windows from usb stick. Really? PE boot anyone? Ah, true, you have to work a lot to make it look and work like your regular windows, but really, who actually uses an usb stick to boot on a regular basis? I install windows 7 using an usb hdd as the boot medium, no problem there.
    No reboot when updating on linux, yet all of them on windows? Have you even touched a linux or a windows machine since 2005? Because, nowadays, both systems do reboot on some updates and just keep running on others.
    No drivers for usb devices? Really? And how do you guess the magic of communication happens between any kernel and the device? THROUGH THE FUCKIN DRIVERS! Yes, linux kernels may have them compiled already, unless, of course you decide otherwise when building the kernel. Also, on windoze machines AFTER 2005 the drivers are pretty much ubiquitous so you don’t actually install the driver but rather you LOAD them just like on linux. Except the OS is smart enough and does the job for you, no need for modprobe shit & all.
    Tab complete in command shell is a bash feature mostly and to some degree teh windows cmd. There are alternatives, as in software just like the bash that you mistakenly take as part of teh operating system. Wrong, sh is, bash is not, is just an addon if you like.
    No touch on windows? Just grab the GNU tools or wahtever and there you have it.
    Or do “cmd.exe /c copy %1+nul %1 /by”.
    You’re bashing a very powerful operating system because you’re missing some shitty tools that you have on teh other? Just install them ffs! Or better yet, compile them. Gcc works on windows afaik, unless you’re going for the VS sources.

    Except the registry shit which is indeed one of the heavy flaws of windows, everything else you wrote in this article is just misplaced angst (sic!). Get a real job or at least learn your trade, boy!


  7. Morgaine
    Sep 18, 2013 @ 21:37:49

    Add security and privacy to the list of Linux benefits.

    Closed source operating systems like Windows are effectively impossible to secure against NSA (and others) adding backdoors or weaknesses with the manufacturer’s approval, whereas open systems like Linux and the various BSDs can be code-reviewed and fixed despite the deliberate weakening of cryptographic algorithms by NSA. See Bruce Schneier’s blog at https://schneier.com/ for more details.

    The recent revelations about NSA-aided industrial espionage against Brazil’s oil company Petrobras adds another ugly wrinkle to the story. Companies outside of the US are best advised not to use Windows at all if commercial security matters to them. See http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/09/nsa-spying-brazil-oil-petrobras for more info on industrial espionage carried out in the name of US security.


  8. Mario
    Sep 18, 2013 @ 22:10:14

    a. Not sure why this kind of post in the Olimex Blog.
    b. You can do some things (differently) in windows. The search function (12) is available if you allow indexing your computer (Windows search).
    c. There is a difference between comparing Linux and Windows and comparing a distribution (e.g. Ubuntu) with windows. Ubuntu is Linux with a lot of packages pre-installed. “Windows” is the OS with a limited number of “packages” pre-instaled. There are tools on windows that make installing easier.
    However to get to the same level as Ubuntu in terms of installed apps, you need to quite some research.
    Have a look at http://allmyapps.com/ for a solution to that.
    d. I use Windows and *nix systems since 1995. LInux usability has increased significantly in the way packages are distributed and in the way the user interface is presented. One of its greatest advantages has been stability: the limited impact any program can have on the system, and, the way the OS is organized. Virtualisation is clearly more flexible for *nix systems (OpenVz for instance),
    Still, for the average user, Linux is not as accessible because there is a lack of computers with Ubuntu preinstalled.
    e. Cygwin will get most *nix commands to your Windows computer so that you can do ‘find …’ or ‘grep -r’ (which I do quite often on my Windows computer).
    f. If you need to develop Windows programs, you still need a Windows computer, to develop Linux programs, you can develop most of it on a Windows computer first (and if needed you can test with virtualisation).
    g. How about ‘Mac’ compared to ‘Windows’ and ‘Linux’ ?!
    h. Some professionnal tools are only available on Windows.

    Do not mistake: I am in favor of Linux, but today I still need both. Back in the days where we had Windows 3.1, I had a ‘WIN.BAT’ file echoing: “Every time you type Win, you loose again”. To avoid that message I made sure that Windows autostarted, and I had my personal alternative ;-).


    • OLIMEX Ltd
      Sep 19, 2013 @ 08:03:49

      a. I share my experience
      g. Sorry I have no experience with Mac
      h. for embedded work I do not miss Windows at all and have all tools I need
      where Windows shines are the Games, most of them are available just for Windows and the reason my kid do not allow me to replace his laptop Windows with Linux 🙂 but this doesn’t bothers me
      For the Graphics design most of the design studios I know here worked on Mac in the past but moved to Windows as Macs are overpriced and the software for Windows become equal good as for Mac (their words not mine)


  9. Istvan (@lix)
    Sep 18, 2013 @ 22:29:00

    Such websites are the reason why i hate the Linux community by heart. Please stop spreading fat lies about things you don’t know, it does not help Linux at all.


  10. sakis
    Sep 18, 2013 @ 23:10:33

    This article seems to have been written a few years ago.
    “Continue” buttons and “Warnings” for driver installation? That was on windows XP! Now you have to wait, yes, but no continue buttons or warnings for keyboards and mice! I do believe though that it is worth mentioning that even if you installed your keyboard on one USB, you have to wait for the installation process again if you plug that same device on another port.

    systeminfo command will give the system’s boot time of the machine on windows although it’s not exactly the same.


  11. Max
    Sep 19, 2013 @ 08:15:42

    I’m not really a Windows fan, but my experience differed on some points, so for fairness sake:
    1) It’s not uncommong to see the little blue “circle around” arrows in the Ubuntu notification corner after a software update: “waiting to reboot”. To be fair, Windows doesn’t do that necessarily with everything eiter. But yeah, it’s a lot more common.
    3) Funny, that’s exactly how I always upgraded my hardware ever since my first 386 – took the HDD, stuck it into the new PC, installed the new drivers, done. To be fair, I _do_ uninstall the old ones before I disconnect the HDD, but that’s it.
    4) My home XP install is many, many years old, and I install/remove stuff _ALL_ the time. Stil runs fine. Work laptop is from 2005, never reinstalled the original XP MCE; it’s fine. Writers of registry cleaners don’t make money because the registry really gets out of control, they make money because people are willing to pay for it. People are also willing to pay for malware telling them their “machine is infected and must be cleaned” or to “princes” from Nigeria and tend to completely reinstall Windows on a whim because they misplaced their favorite wallpaper or something, so that’s not saying all that much.
    8) …and often one _HAS TO_ download and compile the sources before getting to run anything – not something anyone ever wanted to do when they just needed a particular piece of software to get something done (favorite example: mc devs recently decided to start shipping the binaries without samba support, so it just disappeared with an update after years of use). And one better not get any errors, or there goes the entire weekend (unless one is a software developer with some experience in such affairs). At least in Windows usually there’s either a readily runnable binary or nothing at all (having the source available if one does care _is_ of course a bonus).
    13) …on the other hand, every third command needs to be sudo’ed. I’m not really sure how much of an exploitable vulnerability that is, I’m just not familiar enough with security to be able to tell. It sure is annoying though.
    15) I actually do use that. Sure, it didn’t come with Windows, but it wasn’t really that hard to get either.
    16) I won’t comment on that, but I don’t think I have to…


  12. Tophe
    Sep 19, 2013 @ 14:35:35

    The only thing I agree with, is the point related to the package manager.
    Yet, it’s not a feature I need for my day to day work.

    For all things related to the command line, you should look at Powershell.
    And it’s a excellent competitor to any command line shell, as you have a full access to the .Net Framework : you have a full access to the system, you have the ability to script some applications, etc.
    And without using any third party tool such as cygwin.

    For the last point (16), I suggest Olimex gives for free all their gerber files, with the associated comments.
    And concerning the board you sell, just include the component cost, cause we all work for free 🙂

    You got the point : I will respect your opinion if you find that Windows is expensive, but at least, value that the software guys have to be paid.
    It’s a real shame that some people still believe that the software is a byproduct of the industry.


    • OLIMEX Ltd
      Sep 19, 2013 @ 14:44:37

      go to our web and check the product with OHSW logo, for all of them you have the CAD (source) files and if you want you can make them yourself, or hire someone to make them for you or buy from us – we give you freedom

      as I wrote used Windows for a long time, now I like the freedom I have and just share my though, if someone is ok to stay with windows its ok for me, I do not mind 🙂

      I think you have some great misunderstanding when you read my article

      So you think Linux developers do not get paid??? 😉 think again – IBM announced few days ago they will put $1bn in Linux development in the next 5 years, same do Samsung, Texas Instruments, Freescale to name few
      good Linux developers have work for month in advance
      RedHat is commercial company doing Linux development and they also cross $1bn revenue http://arstechnica.com/business/2012/03/red-hat-hits-a-billion-dollars-in-revenue-a-milestone-for-open-source/
      so if you associate open source with = work for free you are in big misunderstanding


      • Tophe
        Sep 19, 2013 @ 15:07:04

        I know very well that Linux developers are paid, as some of my colleagues work on embedded linux systems.

        Yet, Samsung, Intel, TI, Freescale, etc. write drivers for linux in order to sell hardware, just like any hardware vendor.

        Until recently, MS sold only software. So, you can’t really compare the cost between a Windows Licence and Linux.
        As you pointed out, RedHat sells support for OpenSource software.
        And that’s what you buy with a Windows Licence.

        That’s why I didn’t understood your last point : it’s not relevant with the technical part of your post.

        PS: To go back to the technical discussion, sincerly, try Powershell once : the latest version is awesome !

  13. moteur_phoque_heure
    Sep 19, 2013 @ 14:43:08

    Now, with windows you can make, lot of task, and windows.
    Is the OS for user computer.

    I am linux admin, but at this time i work on windows, and create good script with powershell

    Linux is for IT worker, not all people can use linux, or only in Android.

    Windows give me a lot of monney 😀


  14. TheDareGuy
    Sep 19, 2013 @ 22:52:38

    Ok, think about this: I started a company a year and a half ago, 4 computers, 0€ spent on software licenses, no problems at all ==> 0€ spent on support. I was a heavy user of Win7 and Office, they (finally) were great, but Ubuntu is even better.


  15. Ernő ZALKA (ern0)
    Sep 20, 2013 @ 10:01:24

    Note: I’m not a die-hard Linux fan, too, and also I’m not a system admin (I’m a programmer), maybe that’s why I am sticked to CLI.

    121. You can do _everything_ from command line. (Even most of GUI programs are just puts appropiate command line together.) Yes, sometimes it can be multi-line-long commands, but once you have figured out the right command, you can save it as a shell script. In MS-Windows, you can’t “save” a series of click to a script file, you have to click the same coreography every time to do the same job. Better case, you can use keyboard shortcuts. (Advanced users can write AutoHotkey script.)

    122. Tilda. It’s a terminal emulator, always-on-top, can be switching show/hide by pressing F1.

    123. If you SSH to any other machine, you can use it 100%, just as your own machine (ssh -x if you’re using GUI apps).

    124. There are even more shells, but you can choose a couple of programming languages to write scripts.


  16. iamtakingiteasy
    Sep 24, 2013 @ 06:40:46

    >5. You can’t boot windows from USB Stick

    sudo -i # get root

    emerge sys-block/ms-sys # gentoo-ish
    emerge sys-fs/ntfs3g # gentoo-ish

    fdisk /dev/sdc # make a _bootable_ primary partition 1 in interactive fdisk shell
    mkfs.ntfs -Q -v /dev/sdc1 # Q is for Quick

    mkdir -p /mnt/{usb,cdrom} # bash-ism globbing
    mount -o loop any_windows_seven_image.iso /mnt/cdrom
    mount /dev/sdc1 /mnt/usb

    cp -aR /mnt/cdrom/* /mnt/usb/
    umount /mnt/{usb,cdrom} # WAIT untill it prompts. USB device is being syncing.

    ms-sys -7 /dev/sdc # note it is a device, not a partition

    reboot # and select your newly-created USB image as a boot source in BIOS.

    # Say “Hooray!”


  17. mest
    Feb 28, 2014 @ 17:26:22

    17. Launching applications (and a lot more) via Alt + F2


  18. Dustman
    Dec 05, 2015 @ 06:31:46

    I used NTlite and Winreducer (which include making a bootable win usb) to get rid of some of the problems you listed and more including Windows Update. The one feature that shouldn’t even exist in windows period. Despite all that you feel like your running a naked os, I have replaced most of windows components with open source ones. All this as an experiment into what you can do with windows stripped downed to its teeth.

    On another experiment I built Arch Linux from instructions online, tweaking stuff around adding packages and having automated tasks that install fix and correct packages. The number of steps it took me to build Arch from scratch vs modifying a windows iso is staggering. Windows looses for being a freak show, if your not careful removing certain parts you can even brake your os as in it won’t even install. Arch was a smooth sail, install this, install that done. The amount of time invested in building a Linux distro is surprisingly shorter than stripping down windows imagine that.

    The tools I wasted my money on just to remove parts of windows and tweak it to perform correctly are worse than a pile of rocks. Untested diseased beta crap that doesn’t even hold a lite to free software that actually works the way it is meant to.


  19. name
    Mar 15, 2018 @ 17:45:18

    13. linux has less malware because:

    A. virus coder follow the money, the money are more present where there are many users, windows has the biggest share of end user. it is natural virus writers goes on the biggest target.

    B. linux is more “self protecting” than windows

    C. even if windows has some protection, often they are disabled to make the life easier to end users, and to virus writers too.

    i guess if linux became, let say, 60% of market share, we will see so many vulnerabilities pop up because more virus coders will attack it.


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