Computers & Tech

The OS Battles 2 – The Reviews

This is going to be a long winded article based on my personal reviews of various Operating Systems.
Of course you may have heard of one or two. The number of Operating Systems that are out there is big; really, really big. Here is an idea –
But I’m only going to talk about the ones that are more commonly used.

Lets start with the one that you are probably the most familiar with.
Microsoft Windows:
windows 2 windows 1
I’m pretty sure that you’ve heard of this before. There is a good chance that you are using it now since Microsoft owns most of the market share in the PC Operating system sector.

Anyone in the IT industry is not particularly fond of this OS, but has to use it because of its market share and the amount of related software that is built for it. The biggest reasons stand as Exchange Server and Microsoft Office.
Truthfully, its not Windows itself that shines. It’s Microsoft Office. Without the Office Suite, Windows is nothing. The next thing is Exchange Server. These are the only things that Microsoft truly got right. They are the only reasons that made Windows take over the market share it has. Other office suites are great, but are playing catch up. Because Windows managed to get the market share, hardware manufacturers and developers got behind it and made countless programs.

If you work in an office or anywhere else, you know the importance of these two. Exchange is a mail server which is only available in MS Windows Server edition. I guess its easy to setup and stuff.
As for Microsoft Office, you’ve definitely heard of this. Programs like Word and Excel practically run the majority of the offices in this world.

With the latest release of Windows (Windows 10) as it is now, has interface that is an improvement over Windows 8; many users do not like the new metro style. If you use a touch screen system, then it makes complete sense. But I find it way too rigid and user interface restrictive. Of course you could use the normal Desktop and that is fine. To me the best Microsoft Windows out there was Windows 7 to date.
One of Windows biggest flaws is viruses. You cannot take your computer online to the internet without some kind of bug or virus getting in. You absolutely need an Anti-virus program. That’s easy enough. Plenty out there from free ones to paid services. I recommend Kaspersky for this.

Even though it has made the strides it has towards reliability and being more stable, I still wouldn’t have Windows on my personal computer. If I had to use a PC, I’d use one of the Linux alternatives. There are much better software out there for that platform and besides its mostly free.
I will say this. If you’re a gamer, then you absolutely need Windows. More games for the PC are being released for Windows than in any other platform. This is mostly due to the market share; its always been this way. Gaming is the only reason that I would recommend Windows on your system.

Mac OS X
mac os 1 mac os 2 mac os 3

This is probably the second most recognized operating system right now; mainly because of the fact that there are more people buying iPhones & figure that it would be easier to sync stuff to & from the device. That may seem true but actually, Mac OS has always taken second place in the OS market. This in no way means that Mac OS is a lesser operating system. Its actually, in my opinion, the best.
The one thing that Apple did really well with Mac OS was make it easy to use. It was that way from the very beginning. In no other operating system are you able to install an application and uninstall it just by dragging and dropping the icon.
Another thing is that the user interface has changed so little in the whole time that it was invented, that no matter whether you’re a novice or an expert, you’d be able to use system with ease.
This was the 1st mainstream operating system to come with a GUI.
The GUI (Graphical User Interface) is basically what you’re using right now. Everything, from the Windows to the buttons to the mouse, is a GUI.
Some of the features that you take for granted like drag and drop was 1st on Mac OS.

With OS 1 – 9, Apple used their own in-house developed kernel and the OS was rather good. It wasn’t the best in terms of stability, but it was easy to use. With the current OS X, Apple used the Unix Core. Apple did this for 3 reasons.
1. You get the awesome power and capabilities of Unix
2. The system is prone to less crashes and is essentially more stable.
3. The Unix core opened up the doors to more developers for the platform.

Add to the Unix core the ease of use of Mac OS and you have something that is practically perfect.
In the end, its the developers that make and break any OS project. While the number of developers for the platform has increased amazingly in recent years with addition of iOS, it still lags behind the amount of software that is available for Windows and Linux.

unix-command_gui  freebsd-screen0-1024x640

Not much is known about Unix; yet it is one of the oldest operating systems known. This is simply because it was around when everyone was using the command line interface like MS-DOS. Unix was also one of the 1st few to ever get a GUI. More information on Unix’s origins and stuff can be found here.
The one thing about Unix was that it was not completely open sourced, but was easy enough to work on. You soon had variations like HP-UX, Solaris and BSD.
BSD became the most popular version; spawning a free version called FreeBSD. BSD also spawned a variant called OpenSTEP which is now used as the core for Mac OS X.

Unix is even attributed to spawning Linux. The one thing that Unix does not have is ease of use. It does take quite a bit of messing around with the command line interface to setup anything like what you see in the pictures above. But once it is setup, you can forget about it. It is that secure.
If you’re looking for a good operating system on a budget and you’re confident that you don’t mind going through the various command line setup sequences, I recommend freeBSD unix.

You cannot talk about Unix and not talk about Linux. Linux is actually more popular than Unix at the moment. Kinda funny when you think that Linux is the copy and Unix is the original. Its completely stable and there are loads of tutorials, youtube videos to help you do whatever it is that you need to. Since it is open sourced, you can make Linux, look feel and act the way you want it to. This is something that you cannot get from Windows and Mac OS. The only thing is that if you are looking for mainstream software to run, you’ll probably will find awesome alternatives. You can get mainstream software to run through ‘Wine’, but nothing is really as easy as you think it will be.
If you’re savvy with understanding coding and stuff, you can literally develop your very own version by downloading the kernel and installing the packages one by one. The good thing about doing this is that you are able to create a version that is custom made to your specs. The bad thing is that whenever there is a new version of the software that you are using, installing it becomes your baby and is completely on you. Since Linux is a free OS, there are constant updates and upgrades to the kernel and other packages. These are a lot more frequent than the rest and you need to be careful, as some of these can mess up your system.

If you are a newbie or you can be bothered to put something together, you can use any of the distributions. This also makes the job of updating and upgrading the system to the latest version, easier. One thing that drives me literally insane about Linux is that since it is open sourced, there are just so many different versions to choose from.

When you ask the question ‘Why?’ & ‘Which one would you choose or which is better?’ the answer is always the same;’Depends on what you want to do with it.’
That to me is a stupid answer. The thing is any Linux distro can be setup to do anything that you want. Of course, in I’m only going to only deal with the most known ones.

ubuntu1210-large_007Ubuntu is a form of Debian. To me it looks like it was created to make it easy for newbies and indeed it is. It stands as a distro I’d recommend to anyone. However the new Ubuntu Unity look is not for me. Yes its easy, but way too resource heavy. If you are going to install Ubuntu, I suggest using Kubuntu – the one with the KDE desktop.
Ubuntu is easy to understand and use. Its excellent for a Linux newbie. You still need to know what you doing though. Upgrading and updating the system is free and easy as one single click of the mouse. But you need to be careful though. Like any new version of other software, there are bugs and issues to sort out in terms of compatibility.

600pix-debian-gnomeYou cannot talk about to Ubuntu without talking about the OS that spawned it. Debian is pretty much neutral; compared to Ubuntu. Everything is pretty much standard. Its as easy to use as Ubuntu.
Debian probably has the most support than any other distribution. I like Debian because as standard, it comes with the Gnome 2 desktop. This is by far the best thing about it.

opensuse-screenshot-11-2This has to be one of the best distributions that I’ve come across. When you talk about Linux distros, you know that you have those that were spawned by Debian and use the .deb packages to install software; and then there are those that use the .rpm packages that were first used by RedHat.

OpenSUSE uses the .rpm packages but does it so well in a easy to use package managing system called  Yast. Makes for a great server too. Most linux servers only use the command line interface, but OpenSUSE, makes administrating the system easy by using the Yast. Yast on the command line gives you a nice GUI that looks and feels much like an old PC bios. This to me makes it easy and is probably a dream for any IT professional. I ran this as a server and completely satisfied with it.

One thing that I did not like about OpenSUSE was that upgrading the OS, even though it is free, was not easy as with Ubuntu and Debian. Whereas those make it simple with one click or one command, on OpenSUSE, its a whole lot more complex in copying urls for the repositories and updating the system.

The best thing by far about OpenSUSE is the fact that it comes with KDE as standard and does not use that horrible Gnome3 that most other new versions of distros are plagued with.

Update: As of late, I do like the Gnome 3 interface. I think that it is really good. I would opt for it. I like KDE for it customization and its QT apps.. but that is about it.

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