Decision-matrix for choosing between Windows and Linux


This page presents a comparison between Windows and linux on various parameters and serves as a basis for making a choice. It also provides a TCO comparison of Windows vs Linux over a 3-year cycle.
– Decision-makers involved with IT usage in a School, College or SOHO For ex IT administrators, Executive management, Computer Teachers etc
– Anyone interested in a comparison of Microsoft with Linux
Pre-requisites: None

Importance Parameter Windows Linux
Very Very High


  • High license fee
  • High cost of acquisition
  • High cost of maintenance
  • Zero license fee
Very High Security
  • Very High malware threat-levels
  • Active and high involvement required to manage the threat
  • Minimal threat from malware
  • Localized impact of malware if any
High Upgrade path
  • Forced upgrade of hardware resources to keep up-to-date
  • No compulsion to upgrade hardware
Medium Ease of Use
  • High level of user friendliness and familiarity
  • Learning curve for transition of existing users
  • Fewer problems with first-time users
Medium Support
  • Vendor support readily available due to large installation base
  • Have to depend on community support


Cost comparison between Windows and Linux

Using Linux leads to cost reduction by 66%

Over a 3-year cycle, TCO of one computer:

  • using Windows – 46,500 INR
  • using Linux – 15,100 INR
Cost in INR Windows Linux
Hardware 25,000 15,000
OS Licensing fee 5,000 0
Office Suite Licensing fee 10,000 0
Cost of Acquisition Total 40,000 15,000
Anti-virus subscription 5,000 0
Risks 1,000 0
Upgrades/Patches 500 100
Operating Costs Total 5,600 100
TCO over a 3-year cycle Total 46,500 15,100


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