What is Linux Compared to Windows - Software Installation Reviews Part 3

First Impressions - What is Linux Compared to Windows - Software Installation Reviews Part 3

by Larry Neal Gowdy -September 11, 2011 (updated March 04, 2014)

About Linux Displays

Screenshot of the differences of FireFox text and display in Linux and Windows 2000.

Screenshot of the differences of FireFox text and display in Linux and Windows 2000.

As mentioned in What is Linux Compared to Windows - Software Installation Reviews Part 1 and What is Linux Compared to Windows - Software Installation Reviews Part 2, Linux® has advantages and disadvantages compared to Windows®. It is recommended that you read Linux versus Windows - How to Choose Which to Use before deciding whether or not you may be pleased with Linux or Windows.

Operating systems and the programs within each operating system do greatly influence the quality of display and audio. What you see in Windows will not be the same as seen In Linux. In previous years almost all Linux text was clunky and crude when compared to the text in Windows. A person could watch a video or look at photographs in Linux, but individuals who work with written documents usually found Linux to be an unacceptable choice due to the fonts being of a poor quality and spacing.

Microsoft's® Office remains the most popular office suite largely due to the quality of fonts, usefulness, and over all appearance. Open source programs like OpenOffice.org® copied most of the menus and layout of Microsoft's Office, but due to the low quality of text and appearances in OpenOffice.org the office suite never gained popularity even though it is free to download. Libre® Office is an off-shoot of OpenOffice.org, and in recent months Libre's text has become of sufficient enough quality to be competitive with Microsoft's Office. OpenOffice and Libre still cannot compete with Microsoft Office for speed and stability with large documents, but Libre appears to continue improving, and perhaps someday Libre may be of a similar usefulness as Microsoft Office.

Libre Writer is the only known word processor in Linux that displays quality fonts. If you choose Linux for your operating system, then Libre would likely be your best choice for a word processor. Libre's choice of icons in the toolbars is not ideal, but the toolbars can be turned off so as to not be seen. For small to medium sized documents, Libre Office ought to be a good choice for Linux.*

Display Differences in Browsers

The text display in programs will be different in all operating systems, even between Windows 2000 and Windows XP. As an example, the text in FireFox® looks good in XP, not much good in Windows 2000, and the text is chunky in Linux as compared to XP. HTML editors share a similar problem, and if you are accustomed to the font display in a specific word processor then you may not be pleased with the font display in most all HTML editors. For those of us who have chosen Microsoft Word® for its quality of fonts and usefulness, we find it to be very difficult to use HTML editors that are slow and have low quality font displays. Quanta Plus® is likely the best HTML editor for Linux, and though the speed and text display are acceptable, still the over all appearances do not well agree with other programs. It currently appears that the ideal HTML editor for Linux should be one created by Libre. The Script Editor® in the Microsoft Office 2003 was an excellent HTML editor, and Microsoft's Expression® Web 4 is currently the world's best HTML editor mainly due to it having a similar speed and font display as Word. A Script Editor for Libre would be a big plus for Linux.**

Business Use

Libre can usually be a useful choice for normal word documents and spreadsheets, but Libre can be used in Windows as well as Linux. Libre has several advantages, primarily that of being free to download, but any advantage in Libre would not necessarily be an advantage for Linux.

Due to web pages displaying differently in different browsers and different operating systems, and due to about 90% of all computers using Windows, then it is pretty much already required that web designers choose Windows. We can use Linux to make minor updates of web pages, but changes to graphics and layouts requires that we view the page in a Windows browser, and if we must use Windows to proof our work, then it would be more productive to simply use Windows for making the updates.

It is noticeable that many of the pro-Linux websites do not have a polished appearance, and a portion of the reason is due to the site looking okay in Linux but not working as well in Windows. It is normal for techies to prefer spartan appearances, and so it is to be expected to find Linux techies creating spartan websites, but it is not just a choice of style that often makes Linux-created sites look different, it is the difference between Linux and Windows that usually causes the peculiar differences of appearances. Sites created in Windows and Apple® do not have the same appearances in Linux browsers either. It all boils down to whom you are creating a web page for: if you want the greater percentage of Internet users to see your website as you intended, then you will choose Windows.***

Business Internet Use

If your business must use the Internet for business activities, then you may discover that some of the needed websites will not work in Linux. Some businesses are required by law to access government agencies online, and it is not uncommon for the government websites to only work with Internet Explorer®. It is not the fault of Linux, nor is it an advantage of Windows that the government websites require Internet Explorer: the cause is simply due to the government employees not programming the sites properly. Car dealers in Texas are required by law to report all sales online, and to print temporary paper license plates online, but the Texas websites are intensely infested with coding errors. The small main licensing page alone has 368 errors and 385 warnings for HTML (as per W3C). When the Texas dealer site first went live and was required by law to be used by all car dealers in Texas, it required more than another year before the site actually worked, and still the site only worked with Internet Explorer. (The federal health care website fiasco was expected.)

Some business sites' databases only work with FireFox, and not with Internet Explorer nor any other browser.

It is not always merely a personal choice of whether you like or dislike Linux or Windows; the final choice may be your one and only choice to use a specific program that is only available in one specific operating system. Before switching from Windows or Apple to Linux, be sure that all programs will work as needed for your business.****

* Libre's Writer has had numerous improvements in appearances and function that make Writer more favorable than Word for many styles of documents. Microsoft's Office 2013 has downgraded its appearances and usability, while Open Office and Libre Office continue improving. For most normal business documents, Libre is now the favored choice in both Windows and Linux.

** The display quality of distributions like Manjaro are now as good as Windows-based programs. The excellent Windows-based NotePad++ editor can also be installed in Linux through use of the Wine installer. At present there is no longer a wide-sweeping advantage of Microsoft software, but, of course, software is constantly changing, and Microsoft may once again someday offer the best software.

*** Now that all five of the major browsers share similar abilities to read and display HTML, the only measurable difference between Linux and Windows is in the use of different fonts (Linux fonts are not always the same as Windows fonts). Nevertheless, in several side-by-side comparisons the Linux displays often looked better with crisper text than the Windows displays.

**** Windows XP can be installed virtually within Linux so that the user can use Internet Explorer, but the problems are often not worth the effort. If a business absolutely must use Internet Explorer, then I would offer the suggestion to either have a separate Windows computer that is dedicated solely for Internet use, or to continue using Windows. At present a large number of businesses are facing a difficult decision of upgrading their computers to the latest version of Windows, and the expense of upgrading will continue being repeated every few years until companies invest into the developing of websites that are compatible with all browsers.

Also see:

What is Linux Compared to Windows - Software Installation Reviews

What is Linux Compared to Windows - Software Installation Reviews Part 2

What is Linux Compared to Windows - Software Installation Reviews Part 4

It is also recommended that you read Linux versus Windows - How to Choose Which to Use before deciding whether or not you may be pleased with Linux or Windows.

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