Which OS do you use? Do you use it out of choice or because it came pre-installed?
If it wasn't pre-installed, would you have the general know how and technical ability to install your own OS? Some of you would make it work but, for many, the 'out of the box' experience would end in tears. This is one of the reasons why manufacturers pre-install the operating system.
If you own an Apple Mac, your computer would have come pre-installed with a version of MacOS. You would not have had and still don't have a choice? Do you regard that as a problem? You shouldn't.
When you purchase a Mac, you are not just buying a computer. You also get to subscribe to the Apple lifestyle. Of course, style costs and the Mac does not disappoint here. Pound for pound, they are more expensive than any other home computer, and they are not good for hobbyists and tinkerers. If your Mac goes to the wall, it is 'back to Mac' for repairs, and they do go wrong.
If you didn't buy a Mac for whatever reason, you are probably viewing this blog on a Windows PC. Microsoft don't make computers. They supply the OS to a variety of 'OEM' manufacturers who then pre-install Windows. There is an element of competition between the 'OEMs', so there is generally a good deal to be had somewhere. Microsoft have been supplying operating systems in this way for years now.
The great thing about the combination of the IBM compatible PC and the Windows operating system is that almost any configuration is possible, from the simplest and cheapest to the mega water cooled gaming machine. It allows OEMs to provide a wide 'capability' range for all pockets, and those of you with a bit of technical know how can even put a machine together from parts of your own choosing. Windows versatility is unmatched.
There is a trade off against the Mac here. MacOS knows exactly what it is going to be run on, and the surprising thing is that MacOS doesn't always works as it should. Windows is expected to run on pretty well anything, and for the most part does a great job. The task of making anything which will be compatible with 'who knows what' is a huge job. Incompatibility can be a real issue for Windows, but the reality is that most are not unduly affected by it.
Windows is not the only OS that will run on an IBM compatible PC. Linux has entered the 'home' arena in a variety of guises. Most of them are free to download, and there is a good choice of software available for the platform too.
Compatibility is an issue here also, and for the same reasons as Windows suffers. If hardware manufacturers do not supply drivers for any given platform, it isn't going to work.
Linux distros are not as polished as the Windows counterparts, and tend to lack some of the features which Windows users take for granted. Open source applications have that same issue, but what you do get is for free, and all reasonably accomplished.
For the user who wants to program, hack, requires access to the 'code', or simply cannot afford the outlay required for a fully featured Windows computer, Linux is a winner for sure.
None of the platforms would move forwards were it not for the other two. They all have strengths and weaknesses. There is a place for all of them, and hopefully there always will.
So why are you engaging in fights over which is best? Pick the one that suits your purposes best and allow for the fact that others did the same, whatever those purposes may be. There will always be a price to be paid, whichever one is chosen, even the free one.
Sun, Apr 27 2008 14:37