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- February 21, 2020 at 10:08 pm #86432Participant@precious
These days, anyone who wants to buy new technology has more than one question to answer, decision to make, specifications to compare and of course – some budget to make. In the world of computers and software, questions regarding speed, processing power, picture quality, cost, storage capacity and screen size have to be convincingly answered and decided upon before you throw in your cash. The focus on what is produced is no longer tailored alone to what the product can do, but the satisfaction of the user and additional incentives that could be realized from it (Utility and User-Experience). This is really similar to the question of an operating system, and the primary question is which one is right for you?.
An operating system is a large program that manages the hardware and software resources of the computer system while also granting common services to installed programs on the computer, such as access to files, internet connectivity, communication with hardware etc. In today’s world where businesses and life in general are largely driven computer systems, producers of operating systems find themselves in a constant battle to produce the best systems, and users find themselves battling for which operating system fits best. Among the most popular and competing operating systems in the market include Windows (from Microsoft), Mac OS (Apple), Linux and Chrome OS (Google).
Recent statistics have shown that the Windows operating system dominates more than 70% of the market share, other competitors share the remainder in bits and pieces. This statistic alone is strong enough to convince anyone to believe / argue that Windows is the best operating system for anything – and this judgement is complimented by the sheer quality and exceptional efficiency of the windows operating system. However, for an individual user, statistics is only a tool and not the final judge – your environment may be an exception and what you want / need may be different. This article looks beyond statistics to see what the individual should consider before choosing an operating system.
The criteria to be considered in this article include the following;
- Ease of Use
- Software Compatibility
- Social Acceptance
- Games, Graphics and Editing
- Business Needs
- Programming and Development
- Hardware compatibility and cost of management.
Ease of Use
How easy an operating system is to use plays a huge role in user experience and choices. If I have to be a certified computer technician in order to access my files and run programs, then I might as well earn money just by using the products. Every operating system has a learning curve (correlation between performance and number of attempts made) and not all of them are as easy to use as they claim to be. Recent surveys and evaluation suggest that the macOS is the easiest operating system to use, followed closely by Windows operating system. Linux is open source – so the version you have plays a huge role in determining the ease of use. Chrome OS runs on the web – thus one may have to be connected to the internet (always) throughout the learning process to really get used to the operating system.
For a user who wants to try their hands on many software as possible (either as a way of being multi-skilled) – Windows is the way. Quite a lot of applications used commercially and otherwise have versions compatible with Windows. The MacOS on the other hand, boasts of a large software library designed specifically for itself. Although Linux comes in with a community housing a vast number of free software, many of which serve as alternatives to the commercial applications built for Windows, not all versions of the Linux OS are designed to be generally software compatible, some applications built on Linux are not compatible with all the versions of Linux itself. The Chrome OS is built on the web, thus, any application that would run on its platform should not have a problem running on a browser and any user who selects the Chrome OS should always have steady internet supply on standby.
As much as Windows is the most popular operating system in the market right now, you should consider your immediate environment and long term usage before selecting your operating system. If you will be sharing information and creating networks with other people, it is best to find out the most used operating system and tap into it – so as to avoid the additional cost of hardware or software that enables and manages inter-OS transactions.
Statistics have shown that Windows OS is the most actively attacked and targeted operating system worldwide. Chances are that an individual user of Windows may have had at least 2 – 3 significant malware / virus attacks to fend off or neutralize daily. This is also connected to the fact that Windows has the most users, and so it is easier to find a vulnerable Windows user than it is to find others, as well as the fact that it is the most widely used in many business settings. Although the Windows 10 (latest Windows release) has gone far and wide to implement stronger security measure, its ranking as the operating system with the largest users continues to make it a target to cyber terrorist activities. Thus, if you must use Microsoft Windows, ensure you have an active antivirus installed and update it as much as you can.
In the area of security, the mac OS is the strongest – most of it is tied to the fact that the mac OS is highly restricted in the type of software it is compatible with, the operating system has its own store of pre-built, verified and secure applications solely designed to run only on the mac OS. Even transactions between its operating system and another are highly limited and not all file types are allowed into its system. These principles play a vital role in making it unattractive for cyber attackers.
Games, Graphics and Editing
For someone who is an avid gamer and a lover of graphics designer, selecting your operating system can really be tough. Because you have to select an operating system that allows you to try as many games as possible, while also giving you the best graphics output. While it is that Microsoft’s Windows OS is compatible with the largest number of gaming applications and game consoles, MacOS leads the way in Graphics and Editing – and this happens to be also a contribution of its hardware. While you can install Windows OS on nearly any computer and run it, the same cannot be said for MacOS. Its graphics and editing quality is supported by the high quality hardware that comes with the computers it is installed in. With windows, you can only hope that the hardware it is installed on is built to handle intensive processes. It is recommended you use Windows for gaming and graphic design / editing only if your hardware quality is at its best. Meanwhile, the games and graphics found in Linux are often free alternatives to the paid programs on Windows and Mac – these alternative are sometimes slow, difficult to use, and of low quality.
Programming and Development tools
If you are a software developer in any way, gather here. If you have to compare the platforms for coding and application development, Linux leads the way in programming software – except you also want to design iOS applications too, in which case it is required that you get a macOS laptop also.
Linux beats the windows operating system and the macOS to application development because it is open-source; most of the software written for Linux have their codes available for sampling, making it easier to learn a programming language while using it and cite examples of its application in the software itself. Windows comes second here because a lot of code editors and Integrated Development Environments (IDE) are compatible with it, some package runners and frameworks are also easily installed on the OS, and its environment variables are more receptive. Again, its popular use influences the production of software tailored to enable one design and implement apps on the Windows platform. But the fact that Windows is not open-source keeps Linux a step ahead of it.
Even the new cloud-based Chrome OS was built from a Linux platform.
For a business person, the popularity of the Windows operating system makes it a top option for adoption, as well as the relatively cheap price for installing and managing the windows OS as well as its near-open market and its compatibility status with the software market. Although macOS offers better quality in areas of graphics, video editing, content creation and all-round security, it is costly to manage and does not play well with many commercial applications, and its low popularity relative to Windows makes it a hard bargain to make it your first choice.
Another advantage of the windows operating system over macOS in this field is that you must not have windows hardware to run windows OS, nearly any computer can run the windows operating system seamlessly.
Linux is a very good choice for businesses because its open source – that is, some versions of it are tailored to house some type of applications and run on a particular set of hardware. Though it offers you the freedom to customize your business applications to your taste, the members of your team or your staff would most likely prefer to use Windows (as it is the most popular and most likely the one they have become accustomed to).
The ChromeOS is a new operating system at the moment, and although it is gaining grounds and making large profits, the fact that it runs only web applications (applications and user information is kept in cloud storage) means you need to have steady internet supply to seamlessly run the operating system. In cases where access to the internet is costly and stability is a problem, the ChromeOS is not a viable option.
Hardware compatibility and Management costs
The issue of cost efficiency and hardware compatibility plays an impacting role on the choice operating system. This is because an individual must consider the cost of the hardware the OS can run on, the cost of managing the operating system, and the cost of managing software that runs on the operating system as well.
In the game of hardware compatibility and management costs, Windows OS leads the way. One who admires the MacOS well enough to make it his choice must have to purchase a mac (Apple) computer in order to run the operating system. This is a limitation because one has to stick with the MacOS and are limited to the applications on its library. No more, No less! Changing your operating system to another is a high end task that requires a lot of techniques.
On the other hand, Windows is flexible, and it is designed to run on any hardware – you could build your computer right now, install windows on it and it will run. It also has a lot of compatible applications that are free to run on the system (some need a license and are paid for), and the cost of upgrading the windows OS (whether an update or a whole new release) is relatively cheap. Nearly all computer hardware manufacturing companies can run the Windows operating system on their hardware as the default operating system.
Linux is also flexible, but not as Windows, this is because not all computer hardware is compatible with Linux – although nearly all of its software is free – making updates easy and less costly.
The Chrome OS is flexible, but always needs to run on a browser-like interface with connection to the cloud all the time – if your hardware should loose its ability to connect to the internet, your operating system is hindered.
A closer look at these operating systems reveals that what you may need or what is right for you may or may not be truly influenced by general observation. Once you have made your decision, ensure that you purchase the latest release of your chosen operating system (they contain the latest updates and often more secure than their predecessors). In some cases, it is necessary to try the operating system briefly before you make up your mind. Thankfully, Linux has a live CD that enables you run Linux on your computer before you commit to it. You can also install Windows without activation (un-activated version) and test its properties and prospects before you fully install or activate it.
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