He said that he indeed sees philosophical differences btn the two operating systems even at that level.
A year later, a little wiser, I now ponder about that (I'm now working in a start-up in a Linux environment) and I see these similarities.
The most recent difference I encountered is the nature of file locking. In Windows, locking is mandatory - if a process takes a file lock, no other process will be able to access that file, until the first process gives up the lock. In Linux, the locking by default is advisory - another process can go ahead and access the file still! Only a "well behaved process" that tries to take the same lock before accessing the file, will be blocked until the first process gives up the lock.
At first, I was shocked - in fact somewhat disappointed in Linux which I'd grown to love each day. This actually meant that as a developer of a large distributed system, I had no guarantee that the file on which I have taken a lock is not being mucked around by say the Unix cp program.
So I started coding the locking, reading file stuff up and as I was debugging it discovered something quite pleasant. My program being debugged was modifying the file (after taking a lock) but it was still possible to use 'cat' from another shell to examine the contents of the file.
I realized that in my program, if things went wrong and a file got locked and the lock never got released, an admin can still go ahead and remove the file from the system - no reboots necessary. On the other hand, on Windows this is somewhat more complicated as the operating system can disallow the operation on a locked file.
This shows the protective nature of Windows that allows for some predictability by giving up on flexibility. Linux takes the opposite strategy.