UNIX vs Windows Operating System Research Paper

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The Windows operating system architecture also allows for single sign-on and also relies on user name and password verification. The authentication process for a Windows operating system at the server level can also be configured to validate the identity of the person logging in at the Windows domain and Microsoft Active Directory Service levels as well. Certificates can be assigned to specific applications, databases and processes within a Windows sever-based architecture and operating system configuration (Vellalacheruvu, Kumar, 2011).

Another significant difference between UNIX and Windows security is the definition of the security model itself. UNIX defines permissions to the file level using user name and password, and can also assign security levels of a given process as well (Takeuchi, Nakayama, 2006). In many UNIX operating system versions a UID and GID-based session will be started when a user logs in and attempts a specific application or system-level process. It is possible to add on additional security layers to these UID and GID sessions using Kerberos login authentication technologies and processes, in addition to investing in secured file system architectures as well (Takeuchi, Nakayama, 2006). All of these functional improvements to UNIX however come at a high price and tend to increase the low Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) this operating system provides. The UNIX security model is not as adept at managing security on objects, complex, multi-threaded processes and interlinked TCP/IP commands as well (Vellalacheruvu, Kumar, 2011). Like the many variations of UNIX, the Windows operating system architecture is continually going through a series of modifications and enhancements to become more secure. The Windows Active Directory architecture is designed to eliminate the need for inter-domain trust controllers and the complexities of security on the previous generation Windows NT and 95 architectures (Son, Lee, Jeon, Chung, Lee, Lee, 2011). Instead the Active Directory uses authentication layering technologies and Kerberos algorithm to increase security resiliency, making the operating system more difficult to hack into.

Process Management

Both UNIX and Windows operating system architectures are multiprocessing, multi-threaded in that both support multiple processes or threads at the same time. Both are also designed to support multitasking, multiuser commands and environments, and multithreading of applications. The Windows architecture continues to promote Win32 and Win64 multithreading of applications for greater performance.

Configuring process management within each operating system is often done with utilities and on occasion with shell scripting. In Windows the majority of these functions are driven by graphical user interfaces (GUI). In UNIX however process management is often handled through shell scripts. As the UNIX architecture in general is not as flexible as the Microsoft one at integration, it is common to find shell scripts that are used for File Transfer Protocol (FTP) and TELNET sessions from one system to another. A shell script is shown below for transferring file.txt to a computer center via FTP command. These types of shell scripts are so pervasive enterprise software vendors use them for moving files from one location to another on UNIX-based servers their software runs on (Iyer, Lee, Venkatramen, Vesset, 2007).

Shell script for transferring a file to a computer center





FILE='file.txt' ftp -n $HOST <
quote USER $USER


put $FILE



exit 0


Comparing UNIX and Windows operating system architectures on the variations in their kernel architectures, application programmer interfaces (API), security, approaches to process management illustrates how vastly different the design and development philosophies of each of these systems are. UNIX has a strong legacy in the scientific and engineering community and the level of customization to the kernel level shows how pervasive support and customization of this operating system is. Windows' architecture is more focused on ease of customization and support for a broader base of integration support, a lesson Microsoft must have learned from speaking with their enterprise customers who have hundreds of legacy systems they want to use in conjunction with Windows. Both operating systems have kernel architectures capable of supporting enterprise-level applications, and both also have security models that have been proven over time in distribute order management, database and transaction-intensive applications

(Son, Lee, Jeon, Chung, Lee, Lee, 2011). Ultimately the judgment of which is best is more a function of the specific enterprise or organizational need that is needs to be met and how the unique strengths of each of these operating systems meet them.


Bradley, S.. (2009). Windows 7: Is It Right for You? Journal of Accountancy, 208(5), 32-36,12.

Hartley, D.. (2008). Defending Windows servers. Network Security, 2008(10), 4-8.

Ramon J. Hontanon. (1999, January). Managing Unix security. Network Magazine, 14(1), 52-56.

Bala Iyer, Chi-Hyon Lee, N Venkatramen, & Dan Vesset. (2007). Monitoring Platform Emergence: Guidelines from Software Networks. Communications of the Association for Information Systems, 19, 16.

Janssens, M.D., Annot, J.K., & van de Goor, A.J. (1986). ADAPTING UNIX FOR A MULTIPROCESSOR ENVIRONMENT. Communications Of The ACM, 29(9), 895-901.

Son, N., Lee, K. -., Jeon, S., Chung, H., Lee, S., & Lee, C. (2011). The method of database server detection and investigation in the enterprise environnent 8th FTRA International Conference on Secure and Trust Computing, Data Management, and Application, STA 2011; Loutraki; 28 June 2011 through 30 June 2011

Dann Anthony Maurno. (2005, November). How UNIX, Linux, and Windows stack up. Manufacturing Business Technology, 23(11), 50-52.

Takeuchi, I., & Nakayama, Y. (2006). VFS on VFS: A flexible usage of file systems on UNIX. Electronics & Communications In Japan, Part 3: Fundamental Electronic Science, 89(9), 22-33.

Vellalacheruvu, H., &…[continue]

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