"Mired in New Zealand" asked, in part, " I was having some trouble believing that Windows is such the slam-dunk winner that it's purported to be over Linux."
Paul answered with some great comparisons on issues of security. Security is one way to measure durability.
But durability is another way to measure durability. And when it comes to having a system that lasts, Windows has some "issues."
While I write about Linux for a living, I have in fact been the owner of many Windows boxes. I even have a copy of Windows 1.0, hand-signed in the manual by Bill Gates himself, from the software's launch party.
What I've noticed is that Windows winds down hardware. As time goes by, patches and updates and upgrades and necessary applications load my box up with code that hogs my memory, and takes up CPU cycles, until the memory and cycles needed for new work magically disappear. Then you're supposed to replace the box, and over time buy new software.
It's a form of built-in obsolescence that has nothing to do with a PC's features becoming tired. The PC itself just becomes slow and clunky. The only way to extend its life, eventually, is to reload Windows itself. No way to spend a day, that.
Recently I reviewed a product called The Ultimate Troubleshooter that claims to solve the problem of Windows, and its applications, wasting space and time.
It doesn't. Not really. These things persist. You turn them off and they come back on, like viruses. Anti-viral monitors, monitor monitors, Java monitors, Microsoft FindFast, Skype and Google Talk and Windows Messenger clients. They're taking up memory, and running processes, whether they're doing anything or not.
The best way to slow them down I've found is to turn the computer off regularly, so I would never run a Windows server if I expected 24-7 service.
Google doesn't run Windows. Neither do most big Web sites.
So, while I can understand that patching a Linux server is a hassle, there's something to be said for control and real durability. Windows may be idiot-proof, but if you want something to be on all the time get a useful idiot who knows Linux.