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Linux Costing verses Windows

A Comparison of the Relative Costs of Linux verses Windows

One of the big merits of Linux, is the cost (-or lack of it) of any software you might need. The table below shows the relative costs (-as of August 2014) for various packages under both Linux and Windows. We won't be looking at Mac apps here, as their users effectively have to go, cap in hand, to Apple for pretty much everything.

ElementLinux CostWindows Cost

Operating System:

Free (Ubuntu, Fedora, etc)

£70 (Win 7 Home Premium, average)

Word Processor, Spreadsheet, Presentations:

Free (LibreOffice)

£95 (MS Office Home/Student, average)

Graphics & Photo Processing:

Free (GIMP, GIMPShop)

£65 (Adobe PhotoShop Elements v11, average)

..you can build a whole new PC for less than £260 and so the cost of the software under Windows could, quite literally, double the total cost of the build..

Now, of course, the commercial packages may be more extensive but, for the majority of users, any of the extra facilities they provide will not be needed or used. Therefore, the cost of acquiring the necessary software for Windows users just will not be justified: you can build a whole new PC for less than £260 and so the cost of the software under Windows could, quite literally, double the total cost of the build.


Remember the Cost of Upgrades!

If you already have an existing Windows PC, then you will probably have much of the software you need already, so you may be thinking that there is no cost to building your new PC on Windows. However, remember that any upgrades will still cost real money. Remember too that Microsoft has announced that it no longer supports XP -and although there are upgrade packages, they are not that much cheaper than the full package. Likewise, if you like to upgrade the latest PhotoShop package, it will effectively cost a comparable amount to purchasing the package again.

The great thing about Linux distros like Ubuntu and Fedora, is that their Update Manager checks for upgrades every time you logon - and downloads and installs them for you, once you approve them! No cost! No hassle!


Multiple PCs

If you have more than one PC, then remember that the licensing for commercial packages available on (-and including) Windows, you can only use that package on a single PC. This means that if you have two PCs at home, you will effectively double your software costs under Windows. The GNU licence that most Linux software (-including most of the Linux distros themselves) is distributed under, however, allows you to use it on any number of PCs at no cost whatever.


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