The World Of Operating Systems: What Is Your Choice?

Best Operating System

Most of us tend to take the operating systems (OS) on our computers for granted.  It’s just something that lurks in the background, carrying out our commands and making sure our computers work properly. And for many, the world of operating systems is restricted to Microsoft’s Windows that runs on maximum number of computers world-wide.

But 2009 has been a good year that saw new versions of just about every operating system. The future has never been brighter on this front.

Not Just Window(s) Dressing

Windows is the most used operating system and is a first and the best option for many. This could very well be because it is used universally. In spite of Windows being favored by many, Windows Vista was a huge disappointment with its relatively slow performance and high requirements.  As a result, many Windows users stuck to their previous version of Windows, Windows XP.

Microsoft will not take it lying down either. Microsoft worked at fixing most of the problems that haunted Vista users and tried to woo them with a new and sleeker looking version called Windows 7, released after almost three years of its predecessor.  It is expected to be the evolutionary upgrade to Windows Vista.

Although, some Windows users have complained that this new OS is half-baked, the majority agree that unlike Windows Vista, Windows 7 is one of the better versions of the OS. It performs well and seems great even on touch screens, with no difficulty in performing the series of gestures promoted by Microsoft. This places Windows 7 in a good position, as computers with mutitouch abilities are a huge part of the future.

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Microsoft has put in an effort and managed to give it a new look and feel with widgets and other special effects that make this operating system a pleasure to work on. One of the major advantages is that most new computers will come preinstalled with it and almost every kind of camera, scanner, printer etc. will work fine with it.

Windows 7, like Vista, comes with UAC (User Account Control), which was one of the major changes of Vista that many single users found frustrating. But with Windows 7, Microsoft tweaked the feature so that it is not as intrusive as in Vista and offers better user customization.

On the other hand, since the system requirements for Windows 7 are the same as those of Vista, it may not be easy to get people to shift from XP to this new operating system. Another issue is that of security – although the security in Windows 7 is better than that of its predecessors, because of the huge popularity Windows’ enjoys, it will always be a hacking target.

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Still, without doubt it is a great OS for mainstream users and the operating system that Windows users have been waiting for.

Windows 7 is proving profitable for Microsoft. Research suggests that Windows 7 will be used by 50% of all business users before the end of 2010. At least half of them are expected to shift directly from Windows XP.  One such migrant is BMW, the German automobile maker, who has been using Windows XP on 85,000 desktops. It has passed on Windows Vista, but is now keen on Windows 7.  Another corporation that was not fascinated by Windows Vista is Intel. But with Windows 7, it’s a totally different story. Intel proceeded with an upgrade of over 100,000 machines from Windows XP.

Apple’s Very Own Snow Leopard

From Apple comes Snow Leopard, also known as OS X 10.6, an operating system that is claimed by its users to be the best in the world, and this argument is only strengthened with the new version.

Apple has spent the last decade in creating and improving Mac OS X. The new version is unlike any in recent memory, one that reclaims disk space, boosts speed, tweaks several features – while laying the groundwork for a new generation of computers with extremely powerful graphics processors and lots and lots of memory.  All this, with a combination of a low upgrade price, makes Snow Leopard one of the best upgrades from Apple.

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If Windows 7 is considered good looking, this is claimed to be gorgeous. The interface looks much cleaner than Windows Vista and slicker too. Security wise, it is very solid and many Mac users say that they never need to use any firewall software or anti-virus.

In fact, they wonder why people use Windows at all, as this OS is extremely quick with smooth operation and wonderful multimedia support. Many innovative organizations are making Apple part of the standard enterprise infrastructure. They feel it is time to make the Mac a first-class citizen, as it can easily integrate with the existing environment and be seamlessly managed.

Well, people use Windows because the Mac OS runs only on Mac computers, such as MacBook, iMac, MacBook Pro etc. It is expensive too and people can buy 2 or 3 PCs for the price of one Mac. This is also attributed to be one of the reasons for Apple’s smaller market share when compared to Windows. Snow Leopard is certainly a great upgrade for serious Mac users. For non-Mac users, it may not be such a no-brainer, but it’s very close to being one.

The Friendly Karmic Koala

For Ubuntu, it was again time to celebrate soon after its fifth birthday – the Ubuntu family has expanded with the release of the latest operating system. Talk in the tech circles reveals that the latest Ubuntu OS is the best and the most user-friendly version of Linux.  Its supporters argue that it is the fastest and the easiest operating system to use, as it can run on all sorts of computers, even those that are not very powerful. The resource requirements are said to be lower than most commercial operating systems.  It boots quickly and is easy to operate. It can also run some of the Windows programs using a compatibility layer such as Wine.

The latest and the eleventh version of Ubuntu released on October 29, 2009 is called Karmic Koala, which has a sleek tabbed interface. The beauty of Ubuntu is that even this latest version remains completely free with no strings attached, which is wonderful for those with empty wallets.  Virtually all the software is also free.  It’s worth trying out, especially with the user-friendly installation routines and software packages.

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There are many that will not agree that it’s just their empty wallets that led them to Ubuntu, and feel that Linux is a strong competitor to Windows.  Ubuntu users say that what Windows calls “dominating the world’s personal computers,” is literally forcing down the throats of computers users.
If there is any problem with this OS at all, it is to get the hardware to work with it. This is the reason why except for the most committed fans, everyone else stays away from it. Although, this OS is perfectly suited for regular office work, it can be a pain when used for gaming, as there are not many games with Linux versions.

If 2009 is a good year for operating systems, can 2010 be far behind….

No discussion on operating systems can be complete without the mention of Google. The Google Chrome OS, which is open-sourced, is an operating system designed to run the Chrome web browser on netbooks.  It is expected to be released for users in the second half of 2010. Google says, “It’s our attempt to re-think what operating systems should be.”

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Do you think this will make Microsoft look at open-sourcing Windows in the near future?

Is Your OS Better Than Mine?

There is no one “best” operating system as each operating system is the best at what it is meant to do.

Each has its advantages and disadvantages, and different people prefer different ones.

Microsoft Windows is the most common choice of operating system for most people. It is the king of commercial software and for those who intend to run games, tax programs, MS Office etc., Windows works great.  Windows is well renowned in the gaming community too, as most of the games are first released on the windows platform and are programmed for it.

The second-most popular is Mac OS X, which is gaining market share, and is great for people who can afford to get a Mac. It is good for multimedia design and editing and there is a reason why most of the fashion, music and movie shops have Macs. Apple as a company has a great reputation for customer service.

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Linux is free and is an advanced operating system, which will work well for experienced people.  It is a good developing machine and each distribution of Linux has a niche market it caters to.  The best thing about Linux is that all the flavors can be tried out before deciding on one – free of charge. Ubuntu is one of the few Linux OS that has over the years become very user-friendly.
Before we end, how about some operating system humor?

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Usha is currently a freelance writer and internet marketer. She has worked as a freelance writer for many years and has been an active internet marketer for six years. Having worked in the health-field for ten years in a senior management position, her interests are varied. She writes on a variety of topics, which include business, management, health, tech and a host of others. She is also the author of an e-book on internet marketing, which will be launched soon. Her future plans include publishing a non-fiction novel.

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