Computer Operating Systems – Choices Beyond Microsoft

Which Operating System to Choose: Windows, Unix (Linux), or Mac OS X?

Many business managers in Calgary have only been exposed to Microsoft developed operating systems, from DOS to Windows 10 and Microsoft server systems. The limit of many people’s exposure may be towards Mac products such as the MacBook OS, OSX which is actually UNIX-based. Many Calgary companies, especially machine shops, may have equipment running Computer Numeric Control (CNC) equipment. CNC systems come in many types and can be DOS, Windows, Linux (UNIX), and Mac-based.

A computer operating system has two primary functions:computer operating systems

  1. To manage the operation of the hardware
  2. To manage the running of the applications

When talking about choosing an operating system, many managers and individuals ask themselves which one is the best, among the most widely spread – Windows, Linux or Mac OS X?

Of course, the selection of the operating system will depend on the software that you will need to run and use, the company strategy and policies, etc. The debate about which one is better: Linux, Windows, or Mac OS X has existed for more than a decade. Indeed, these operating systems are very good; each of them has both shortcomings and merits. To determine which one is the best, in any case – it will be a subjective opinion. In turn, we can only speak about their positive and negative aspects, and this article is about OS-s features.

Linux advantages

Free distributions

One of the main features of Linux operating system is the availability of free distributions, such as Ubuntu, Suse, Fedora, etc. All of them are quite similar in appearance and have the same “philosophy”. This fact is very useful for people who want to own entirely legitimate operating systems for free. First of all, these are private entrepreneurs and companies, as buying a license for all computers is quite expensive, it is much easier is to use the free Ubuntu.

Free software

This merit overlaps with the previous one. However, the computer needs only one operating system, but many utilities (word processing, antivirus, picture editing, archiving, etc.). For example, Adobe software can cost several times more than the whole system. Free programs are also good for casual users who do not want to have constant problems with the license (to search for a key), and even feel like a thief.

The flexibility of the system

Linux distributions are open source and programmers can change the code as they need, even creating a full server. Programming experts also have full access to the code of all Linux-based software (e.g. Open Office). You have the opportunity to run only those processes that are necessary for you, rather than those that are installed by the system’s default. In Linux, you have access to perform tasks via the console (install, update or remove programs).

A modern design

Due to the open developer community, Linux distributions follow the modern trends in the operating systems design: the same Windows layout, the original use of the taskbar, side panels and other things. Design of Ubuntu has always been one step ahead of Windows, of course, now (with the release of Windows 8) Microsoft has already started a new design level. Also, Linux versions allow such a modern layout – even on slower machines.

Stable and fast work even on slower “machines”

In recent years it has been discussed that one of the most common Linux distributions, Ubuntu, became markedly slower. Therefore, we warn you, if you choose this particular distribution, you may notice performance issues related to speed. If speed is important for you, you can try Elementary OS (or Mint), which many praise for its speed and stability. In general, do not be afraid to experiment with Linux distributions, so you are sure to find the system that will be perfect for you.

New experience

Another advantage of Linux users compared to Windows is that they can stand out from the crowd. After all, most of your friends, colleagues or acquaintances use either Windows OS, or Mac OS. The functions and features of the Windows operating system, are created by the wish of Microsoft developers, while the operating system may behave quite differently than intended. In Linux, there are new features, new shortcuts, new logic in the actions, etc. New experiences can be useful in study (all Universities use UNIX), and maybe in the future if you change your place of work, you will be put in front of a computer that has Linux operating system.

Windows advantages

Popularity (wide spread)

For Windows, on the Internet you can find dozens of manuals to learn this operating system. Its popularity is due to several factors: it has been on the market for a long time, it is convenient to operate and low cost of the hardware (in comparison with the Mac, where computers are 2-3 times more expensive than usual PC). Therefore, if you feel you are not the most advanced PC user, it is best to install Windows, after all, the Internet can help you. And, by the way, it is much easier to find a Windows specialist than a Linux one.

Easy to use

Like it or not, for most users Windows is still the most convenient system. Again, there are several reasons, the main being a paid basis of all programs and system as a whole, which stimulates the work of designers and developers who are more qualitatively doing their job. In addition, Windows offers Help hints and tips, highlighting the recommended color options, as well as creating clues in the description. Such a meticulous attitude to design programs or operating system you can’t expect from altruists (such as the Linux developers).

Software Support

Another advantage of Windows OS that goes together with the previous – is the availability of very good technical support. Microsoft also regularly releases updates that are either due to errors found, or because of the new versions of Windows. In Linux, thus is rarely seen, and sometimes, the available programs are in foreign language, so there is an additional language barrier. Multi language software and support for many languages is very preferable to ‘worldwide Windows users.’

Compatible with all hardware devices

One of the most important things when choosing between Linux and Windows – is compatibility with the hardware devices. The fact that nearly all devices have Windows drivers and additional tools, whereas for Linux this is not true, so you may find a non-working driver for your scanner, printer, mobile phone and even the graphics card. Windows strongly encourages companies to release drivers by discounts, advertising, profitable transactions, etc. Device manufacturers choose for whom to produce the driver, but most often they choose the Windows system, since it is used by the majority of users.

Huge selection of software

Windows has one big advantage over all other operating systems: a huge number of applications that work well with them. Let’s face it – in whatever operating system you switch to, you will have problems with an application that exists only for Windows, including Mac and Linux. This is especially true for thousands of free applications that you picked up along the way and do not even know you’re missing until you realize that there is no version for Mac or Linux.


Mac OS X advantages

Ease of use

You will often hear that the OS X much easier to use than Windows. In some ways, that’s right: installation and uninstallation in most cases does not exist (it is enough to drag the program whenever you want and that’s it, uninstall – by dragging to the Recycle Bin), and system settings are much simpler and better resolved than in Windows, whose Control Panel has become a nightmare with a bunch of overlapping and difficult to find options.

UNIX-based and stable

If you are an advanced user, the ease of use is not very important, more important is the fact that OS X is based on Unix, and as such is quite a robust and stable operating system that will rarely freeze, which happens quite often in Windows. This, of course, does not mean that it is impossible to bring down, but is definitely closer to the famous UNIX stability. On one occasion, I had open in Mac OS fifteen applications, one of which was the virtualization software VMware Fusion, under which it was one virtual window spinning 64-bit Windows, and it was running Firefox. At one point, Windows had completely frozen, but OS X has continued to work cheerfully, so I had no trouble switching to another window and continued working there.

The visual interface

The visual part of OS X is simply made better than the one in Windows. Various effects and transitions work instantly, even if you use all the working memory. As for embedded applications, despite rumors that the Mac comes with everything you need, the fact is that the software packages for serious work, such as iWork, you have to buy additionally. It is true that Mac (as well as Windows) comes with a bunch of useful software, so you will not have to look for an application in order to work with images, text, e-mail and the like.

Little things that make an impression

Finally, there’s a bunch of little things which will impress you and you will miss them when you go back to any other operating system. For example, OS X is more tolerant of poor Wi-Fi signal and will work (although slowly) even when the signal is very poor, while Windows in the same situation displays No signal. Time Machine on OS X is a perfect solution for data backup, an area that is rather neglected on Windows. And, did I mention that the Mac almost has no viruses?