Computer Operating Systems – Which One is Right For You?

By Kristen T White

Computer operating systems are a lot like food in that tastes in them vary greatly. They also are similar to food in that not everyone needs the same types, nor wants the same thing. The majority of personal computers owned by average Joe’s and Jane’s are most likely to feature a version of Microsoft’s Windows while businesses might run either Windows or some version of Linux. Every individual and every business uses computers for different reasons and as the operating system is the backbone of every computer it’s important to make sure you’re using the operating system that you can benefit from the most.

For the majority of users Windows is going to be the logical or even default choice. Windows has been the dominant operating system for well roughly 20 years and is compatible with upwards of 98% of software. Many Windows users don’t actually choose Windows as their system but since it’s packaged in with the vast majority of new PC’s these users are unaware that there are alternatives. For those who are aware of alternative operating systems they often choose Windows as their primary operating system for compatibility reasons. Some even go so far as to install Windows side by side another operating system such as Linux. Windows users enjoy being part of a group that has very few compatibility issues, plenty of regular updates, as well as regular major releases every couple of years. Windows is a great operating system for those individuals and businesses who want to use their computers for every day activities like conducting business, building websites, putting reports together, and surfing the Internet, among many others. Windows users also have the easiest time finding Orange County computer support when they encounter problems with their PC’s.

The most popular alternative to Microsoft’s Windows is Linux. Though regular updates are provided to Windows users free of charge, Windows upgrades are released on average, every couple years and in order to maintain the ability to run the latest hardware and software users will be asked to pay a fairly steep price for new versions of Windows, which often includes nothing more than an enhanced/revamped graphical user interface and sometimes becomes more complicated for the average user. Depending on the version, Linux is generally free of charge. There still exists a stigma that only tech geeks will understand and be capable of using one of the many versions of Linux, but with the release of Linux systems like Ubuntu, Xubuntu, and even Kubuntu, the learning curve for Linux has been brought way down. Not only do most modern versions of Linux now resemble Windows making them easier to use for individuals with little technical savvy but Linux is now much more compatible with programs that once ran only under Windows. Many people who have become frustrated with the price of Windows, the operating system’s vulnerability to attacks, it’s proprietary tendencies, and closed system have turned to Linux.

The few Windows based programs that don’t have a Linux alternative can be run through Wine, a program designed specifically to run Windows applications on a Linux operating system. Though some businesses may run a Linux server operating system it remains mainly an alternative for users who want a richer and more secure experience on a computer. It used to be that in order to get support or technical assistance for a Linux operating system you had to know someone who possessed a high level of technical ability but these days even many Orange County PC repair companies have begun offering services for help with the many different versions of Linux.

With Windows having the largest penetration rate amongst individual and business users and Linux quickly gaining ground in the compatibility and popularity departments, you might think that there’s no other operating system to consider. Apple’s Macintosh however is what some in the computer world refer to as a sleeping giant. Mac’s utilize Unix, which Linux is based off of and is as solid and reliable as Linux. In the past compatibility issues have kept a great many people from choosing a Mac over a PC though in more recent times Wine for Mac’s, much like the version found in Linux has become a powerful tool with which to run Windows based programs.

As Wine improves Mac’s will undoubtedly become more popular among home users. Business wise however Mac’s have long been the operating system/computers of choice for those whom render movies, graphics, and record music. In time however expect to see Mac’s share the spotlight with Windows and Linux based PC’s as the operating systems becomes more compatible with commercial and popular software. Many Orange County computer support specialists now offer services that can help owners with their Mac’s should they have any issues with the operating system. This is another indication that the popularity of Mac’s is steadily growing.

Kristen White is the owner of TH2 Technologies, an Orange County computer support firm offering the most comprehensive computer repair and maintenance services available.