Linux admin vs Microsoft Windows admin

by on April 14, 2007 · 36 comments· LAST UPDATED April 14, 2007


Ah, it is indeed a beautiful Saturday night here in New Delhi.

There is some dissuasion going on with my old friend and I thought it is a good idea to share the same:

* Linux admin == smart people

* They learn quickly

* A typical Linux user is a power user and likes to run his/her own small server (DIY)

* They have knowledge of different technologies

* And most important - they can learn to run your Microsoft boxes in less time than it takes an MCSE to learn a single Linux task.

Do you agree or disagree with above statement(s)? Please add your thoughts in the comments...

TwitterFacebookGoogle+PDF versionFound an error/typo on this page? Help us!

{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Mazen April 15, 2007 at 8:53 pm

100% Agree ;)

well said my friend!


2 arun-mcse April 15, 2007 at 9:07 pm

I’m proof of this concept :(

Windows is all about point and click. When you start to admin Leenux you are in the *alien world*. So many commands to remember…. I guess that makes all of you smarta** ;)

Linux admin = Editing text files + remembeing all commands

On a related note, I also challenge any Linux admin to tweak Exchange server; it is also a hard work unil u see sendmail config file. My first reaction for sendmail was WTF? my jaw just dropped wow!

Slowly I’m learning about postfix and now using control panel (plesk). Let us hope so I become good linux admin.



3 0xAF April 16, 2007 at 7:46 am

well, i agree at 100%.

note to arun-mcse:
i’m linux administrator for about 10 years now, my opinion is that is not so hard to learn all the commands, i guess if you play piano or guitar for the first time, it will be very hard to learn all the notes and the keys and etc. but after few months it will be as easy as to point-click in windows ;)


4 matthias April 16, 2007 at 6:08 pm

I totally agree ;)
BTW: A really nice blog! Just grabbed your RSS feed.


5 nixCraft April 16, 2007 at 8:14 pm


just follow 0xAF suggestion :)


Thanks for grabbing my feed :)


6 tom April 16, 2007 at 8:32 pm

* They have knowledge of different technologies

This is key. A Unix admin will likely have experience with a wide range. (S)He will know about windows. Will probably be able to do some network debugging. Will probably know of several alternate solutions to a problem.

A Macintosh admin will have a bit of a subset of the above.

We all have to accommodate the 800 lb gorrilla of Windows. The Windows admin might never have seen anything except Windows. The difference between NT and XP will seem like a huge difference. When all you’ve ever used is a hammer, a screw will cause you all kinds of problems.


7 jinu April 17, 2007 at 7:48 am

linux is nice os, its crazy software,no one suddenly attack in to this .


Jinu Varghese


8 `ariel April 18, 2007 at 6:01 pm

Nice post!

Sure.. going from Linux/*BSD to Windows is MORE EASY than viceversa.. i`m sure. that happend to me :). since 2001 i was using FreeBSD as my main desktop OS and a new job make me switch to windows. now i`m the admin of an entire AD domain since 1 year and was so easy to get the concept.


9 star May 9, 2007 at 8:08 am

have you tried J Server 2007 – Lets you admin users and samba from windows point and click.


10 Raja May 22, 2007 at 9:45 am


everthing is very hard become eassy .last three year i used exchange server .every time i was thing how to get rid ms exchange server becaz of virus now am runnig qmail server very excellentas per me linux with qmail very smart


11 abif May 23, 2007 at 6:32 pm

hi, im a solaris unix admin.

for about 2 years already im maintaining solaris os.
but now im searching for a windows job and finally i got 1.

gossh.. what a relief


12 kar August 7, 2007 at 3:10 am

Linux Admin admin just like good girl and bad girl – good girl go to heaven and bore to death, while bad girl go every where else and have fun.



13 test April 25, 2008 at 7:50 am

every os is fine if u r a linux admin u cant get rid from window and vice versa


14 Vijay April 25, 2008 at 1:22 pm

This is not true because
A linux user can run a lot of commands of microsoft but he can’t troubleshot the problem easily, he can run the commands by hit and trial methods , don’t know about the command what it does. according to me linux user can interact with microsoft but can never work on the server level.

On the other hand a microsoft user can work on the linux but in this condition is that he can work on the linux with GUI interface easily because he did,t know the commands.

So hows my views


15 Cuetzpallin April 28, 2008 at 2:20 pm

I’m agree, I’m a slack user since 1997 and today for my work I use windows, isn’t difficult to switch from one to the other when I go from home to the office and vice versa.


16 Jerry May 8, 2008 at 2:24 am

I’m an MCSE and I was hired as a contractor with IBM to Admin a large Win2k3 domain. But it’s in the middle of many Unix/Linux servers of many and every flavor. I’m also admin to these servers with OS’s as old as early versions of Solaris to late versions of Red Hat Enterprise. Learning to use vi shows you how it started long before there ever was a mouse. But, I’ve used command line admin with all versions of Windows, so my learning curve is not so bad. There are no graphics or double clicks, just command line . . . not so hard!


17 Prajapati KC May 8, 2008 at 7:08 am


I am fully agree with you. linux admin can learn windows in very short span But, windows admin can’t

Linux admin = Smart



18 Anoop Alias May 8, 2008 at 1:33 pm

Well there is no point in administering anything less than GNU/Linux!

Hey buddy your feed is aggregated at

And please try to use GNU/Linux instead of just Linux. (something like saying to yourselves everytime…GNU Operating system using the Linux kernel !)

And you have a really fantastic blog..Hats off Guru


19 Kye March 14, 2011 at 5:45 am

Stop acting like people care about that.


20 Vasudeva May 8, 2008 at 2:51 pm

This is really very good topic to discuss. I had started my IT career with NOVEL Netware in 1995 and switched over to Redhat Linux 5.2 from 1998. Linux given me the lot of opportunities in my life. I was been to JAPAN for Deploying of Linux based Projects in 2001 and now I am in US again because of Linux (LAMP). From Linux I had acquired all Unix mail servers knowledge and also got the opportunity to work on Live UNIX mail servers (Sendmail, Postfix, Qmail, Intrastore mail server) and also Unix Antivirus servers Amavis. I even got a chance to work on Miracle Linux (Linux ready for Databse server). Hats off to the Linux World


21 Funtime May 8, 2008 at 4:11 pm

When I was in HS, I took a UNIX class, and it was all about the SUN OS. I absolutely hated it, and therefore was uninterested in GNU/Linux. When I was in college, I got into a Linux class, and the instructor really helped me develop a love for it. We were working with RedHat 7 at the time, and I have now moved onto many different distros, and have settled (for now) on Ubuntu. It took me a few years, but I have moved to a complete GNU/Linux environment in my apartment. I have to run Windows at work, but I have installed Cygwin on my work machine, and still do most of my work through the command line.

Some of the most intelligent admins I have met to date have all been *nix admins, and would only work on Windows when they absolutely had to. I feel that Windows admins are very smart, in their specific field, but they are less likely to make the switch over to GNU/Linux because the entire architecture of the OS is different than Windows.

Hooray for Tux!! Great blog, I have been reading it for a little while now, and this is the first time I have posted a comment.


22 Winter May 8, 2008 at 10:38 pm

Perhaps because I don’t like to touch MS software, it’s all a bit annoying to me. I have to take my hat off to anyone that has taught themselves to be a windows server admin with AD and Exchange etc. Unless you have a place to look for the answers, it can be a real bother figuring out MS terminology and technology. They’re off in their own world.

OS nixes are easy to understand and use because: *There is documentation!*

Man I hope I never get a job at the evil empire.


23 rsys May 9, 2008 at 8:25 am

I’m learn for my MCSE exam from my Ubuntu Box.. and and for me it much2 easier for me to learn all the MCSE stuff after I learn Linux, because it help me shape the mind set.


24 pal July 5, 2008 at 4:31 am

this is nice blog..any one can tell abour mandriva linux???


25 mb August 15, 2008 at 11:48 pm

Im a windows admin by trade but I do have to support linux servers. Which is easier ? Neither , you still have to learn the relevant tools of the trade. What really seperates the men from the boys is systems programming. Anyone can learn a command line tool or batch/scripting language. I have nothing but contempt for the unix/linux camp that simply know ‘enough’ to get by.


26 dfu August 25, 2008 at 7:47 pm

Umm, isn’t it just easier to fake being a ‘good’ admin if you’re primarily around a windows environment? Either way, in order to be ‘good’, you still have to understand the underlying concepts of what you’re doing. If you don’t have those base skills, then you’re no good no matter what type of environment you’re in.


27 Dhaval September 19, 2008 at 5:42 am

I hate Microsoft OS , Becoz it is not secure OS , and linux providing free support to us better than microsoft,

look at the video of ubuntu-beryl vs microsoft vista

I am senior linux administrator from india , I love this os , by this os i have got many opportunities and jobs, without any more qualifications,
And still I am working and getting knowledge of
-Radius Server
-MySQL Replication

Still I have lot of things to learn. :)


28 kashif September 28, 2008 at 10:40 am

pls send me
— the discuss b/v microsoft v/s linux-redhat


29 amrit January 16, 2009 at 12:11 pm

You are absolutely right my dear.

For windows administrators Learning Linux administration is like learning breathing on a planet without oxygen.


30 garyc August 7, 2009 at 9:34 pm

100% agree

for me the key point is “They have knowledge of different technologies”, as an IT consultant I can advise my client to the best technology that suits his business. Most Microsoft resellers I find have *limited* IT knowlege in general, with linux you tend to have to “learn the basics” eg rdns/dns/smtp/fetchmail/postfix/assp etc etc and not “point and click” autoconfigure crap, and with so many things in life, once you learn the underlying concept your skills are transferable.

Sometimes (where no other options exists) I advise clients to use Windows Server, but generally I use linux.



31 Nothing changes October 6, 2009 at 11:08 pm

The superiority complex is here again.


32 Robert March 28, 2011 at 3:50 am

This age old debate should be put to bed. I have seen Linux admins get on a Windows machine and find themselves lost in trying to configure Exchange. Let’s face it, there are NO OTHER options available in comparison to Exchange Server. Zimbra is still in it’s infancy and unless they get up and get moving on development Exchange will be leaps and bounds ahead in the Enterprise collaboration world.

Active Directory provides granular control over end users in comparison to Linux. If you want to lock down a Linux machine you have to basically write a ton of scripts and figure out how you are going to get that all to work. Windows has far better Enterprise support than Linux at this point in time.

For those that think Windows admins are stupid are merely idiots themselves. I have met some brilliant Windows admins and in turn met some retarded Linux admins. Put this issue to bed and move on. I am a pro Linux user but understand it’s limitations in the Enterprise world.

I can’t sum this up any better than what I once read:

“Linux is only free if your time is worthless”


33 BillyBob May 24, 2012 at 8:28 pm

I think it’s fair to say that a lot of people can perform a lot of very basic Windows administration with little training, but these are not people I would consider real System Administrators. Really getting under the hood of Windows takes just as much intelligence and understanding as it does for Linux, and as someone who started from the WIndows side, I can honestly say that some aspects of Linux seem simple in comparison. Yes, there are a lot of commands to learn, and I know I’ve only really scratched the surface, but learning commands as you need them is ultimately just a tiny detail compared to knowing what you want or need to do in the first place.


34 Charlie Kul June 23, 2012 at 12:52 am

I am studying MCITP but my work requires some little Linux admin here and there. I totally agree with Robert above though – it is all about which industry you wanna specialize in. I feel Linux is good for the techno-admin in say Telecoms Servers (which is my current field), ISP, and typically all service delivery platforms i assume. BUT for the Entreprise arena, I guess we still cant beat the Windows platform.

A comparison of the two is total nonsense unless it is mere superiority complex. I suggest we understand that what matters is the target industry. Period.


35 swapnil September 14, 2012 at 12:05 pm

Totally agree.


36 Tuxoon April 25, 2014 at 10:00 pm

Seriously! I like the philosophy of GNU/Linux and that’s why I wanted to be a full GNU/Linux Administrator, but today the situation seems to be different in my view.
When I see all services provides by Microsoft, especialy in 2014, it seems difficult to find worth in the GNU/Linux world. If you want to have some very useful features as those providing by Microsoft, you have to pay for that! Otherwise, you will be limited!
And more Microsoft provides new features, more the Microsoft Admin as to be proactive to be fonctional otherwise he will be outdated.
That’s what define his level of profesionalism “smart attitude”.

Maybe a smart admin is not a linux admin or a Microsoft Admin, it’s just a guy/girl which is not afraid to learn all the time and to practice a lot to have more skills and experiences to respond easily to a need.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: