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|This page is designed as an answer to many questions on Wikipedia:Reference desk/Computing. It is generally my personal view, but I invite everybody to add comments to this page|
- What is your opinion of the best OS?
- The "best" operating system depends on many, many factors. Below is my opinion of the differences between operating systems. I use Linux at home and for research, but have also used Windows (98 and XP) fairly extensively. Additionally, I use OS X on a semi-regular basis on the iMacs at university.
- Linux is free and able to be tried with a Live CD, so you can easily check what it's like for yourself without installing it outright. It is liked by some because it is secure, flexible and has a wide range of free software which is easily installable with it; but it is not liked by others because it cannot support many windows applications and games. Linux is highly customisable, for example a wide range of "skins" are available for KDE, and there is often a choice between the programs you can use (for example KOffice vs OpenOffice.org). Linux can be confusing, especially when selecting a distribution and installing. Also, some concepts such as mounting disks may be strange to new users. Power users may be interested in the many scripting languages and development tools which are supplied.
- Debian, Ubuntu and other package based Linux distributions make it very easy to install or remove a huge range of software packages using a program like Synaptic. This software is mainly free software (free to use, share and build on), with some freeware (free to use). Many of these software packages have versions for Windows and OS X too. An advantage of Linux is that security vulnerabilities, both of the operating system and all the software running on it, are usually patched much quicker than either Windows and OS X. The patches are either installed very easily (Debian) or automatically (Ubuntu).
- Microsoft Windows - according to traffic on the W3C website, Windows XP has about 75% of the market share. Including older versions of Windows, it has over 90% the market share. Windows generally comes pre-installed on new computers, but it is sometimes possible to obtain a partial refund for unused versions of Windows.
- Windows XP is the must-have operating system for PC Gamers due to its excellent DirectX support. It is the "default" OS for PCs today. You will probably need to invest in a firewall and anti-virus suite to be secure online.
- Windows Vista still has a lot of issues with hardware and software compatibility, especially if you plan to use it for High Definition content, so find out if it will work with your hardware and software before using it. Many people suggest the system is resource-hungry due to the Aero Glass graphics; plus the checks it makes to protect content which uses Vista's DRM system (notably HD-DVD and Blu-Ray). Some people have raised issues with the privacy and security implications of Vista's EULA, and the power it may grant for Microsoft over your computer.
- Older windows - it is probably a bad idea to use older versions of windows, as they are less well supported for both hardware and software. Windows 98 and earlier have significant security concerns.
- Mac OS X looks good and is very nice to use, but is only available on special hardware. Admittedly the hardware design is nicely done and the computer runs very quietly, but there is no way to mess with the insides (for example to upgrade or repair parts of the computer) which means if anything breaks you'll need to see a Mac specialist. OS X generally uses it's own programs and cannot run applications which are "Windows-only". However, it is very compatible with Linux, so a wide selection of software written for Linux is available on OS X.
- There are some other operating systems, but I don't know that much about them.
- That's it - the choice is yours. --h2g2bob 03:17, 3 February 2007 (UTC)
- Please add comments and corrections here
- Also at the Reference Desk