Link may have problems with this decision.

I guess Link may have a little trouble here.

 

Why is there such conflict between users? do we really should care about this?

As soon you start asking for an OS for you brand new PC, there will be fan groups around specific products that will keep trying to manipulate your freedom of choice, they provide you arguments like “it’s free”, “it’s easier to use than…”, “do not support its monopolistic strategies” and few others, finally when you purchase/download the product, it will be done by a popular judgement rather than your own decision.

Consider getting an OS like “looking for a soccer team to support”, technically it’s the same scenario: “Why that team?”, “Really? Team B is far BETTER!!!”, etc. It’s kinda difficult to stay strong with our likes and dislikes when so many people is pulling you into the same bucket, that’s why we need to use our skills as consumers and do the smartest move: Go and Investigate!!.

I’m not discovering the moon with that recommendation, but before accepting the ideas from product evangelists, gathering information from reliable sources is by far our greatest weapon when we are about to acquire a product, think about it… you won’t buy a car without investigating the brand, replacement parts availability, insurance, previous owners, etc. The more you investigate, less risks may take you by surprise and you judgement about a product will be solid.

Now let’s talk about the Operative Systems, each OS has its own capabilities, learning curve, usability and product support that may not fit for every user, so you have to investigate and try them by yourself before choosing the right OS for you.So far I have used most the OS in the market (at least the popular ones for desktop computer) so I can provide you with a little review of each OS, this is just my point of view, so you can consider this as an start point so you can investigate further.

 

Linux

When talking about Linux, we always have the idea of those hard-to-read terminal screens with creepy commands and weird graphics… but guess what? Linux has improved a lot in the past 10 years, thanks to all those contributions in the usability area. Since there are so many distribution, I will focus on Ubuntu, one of the greatest Linux distributions, it’s FREE, comes with two flavors: desktop and server edition, there isn’t a real difference between the two editions, both can serve the same purpose but the desktop edition comes with a really nice GUI and it’s totally user-friendly.

 

Ubuntu Desktop Screen

Ubuntu Desktop Screen

The Desktop edition simplifies most of the tasks with a really cool user interface and great software repository. You can perform administrative tasks without messing with a terminal screen, install software in few steps and you can work your office duties without problems. It will take you some time to understand the Linux folder structure and how to navigate within the user interface but you will find it very productive.

Linux is supported by thousands of people worldwide, so if you any questions or problems there is always a complete community willing to provide guidance.

Everything looks great, but there are some cons here, for instance, if you need to achieve a particular and outstanding feature on your Linux server, you need knowledge, you may need to hire someone or you may have to ask for help at the community, in a corporate environment this may look like loosing the edge by revealing a top secret idea or by adding to much risk to your system by adding such feature with limited knowledge, but everything depends on the scenario.

Another problem present in linux is basically exemplified in a popular internet quote: “To err is human…to really foul up requires the root password”, a curious user with the root account can do marvelous things like “delete critical files blindly” in just one command. This problem is solved by doing a great server management but the risk is still there, so stop using 123456 as your root password.

In overall, Linux could be hard at some points but it’s incredible flexible (and Free) with a good amount of OS variations that may suit specific customer’s needs.

Windows

The default OS in most new PCs. I have to admit that I’m a Windows user since 3.11 and personally I like it, but don’t get me wrong, I like the usability of the OS but hate almost everything else. Microsoft did a really good job making an OS with a low learning curve (for desktops) and a nice looking UI (except for Metro…), but it’s not my ideal OS for sensitive demanding roles like Web, File and LDAP Servers, it does works but I prefer Linux for the task. My current Windows machine is used for gaming and development, while others operations are done via virtualized Linux boxes.

The Metro UI

The Metro UI, It’s just a full screen start menu with sparkles.

Like I said, the learning curve on Windows is low, so virtually any user may get used to it in no time, but it’s an expensive OS and it does have a lot of cons like:

1. Your license restricts you to an specific edition of the OS, if you want another edition, then you have to pay for it.

2. Office apps are sold separately. (Solve it with OpenOffice or LibreOffice)

3. Some operations requires you to restart your PC, slows your productivity.

4. Consumes a little more resources than other OS.

5.  And more… (really)

One thing that Windows actually does well, it’s being a good videogame platform (I think this is keeping Windows alive), according to Steam around 70% of its users are running a Windows OS, its DirectX libraries can achieve great visuals and effects but comes with a price, you need suitable hardware for this. In overall, Windows is a nice OS (if we ignore… you know…), comes bundled in almost all new PC, if you don’t have extraordinary needs, have some cash to burn, then go ahead and try Windows, it won’t hurt anybody if you go for it.

Mac OSX

I’m testing Mac OSX (mavericks) since 4 months ago and I have to say… it’s so simple to use, technically it’s like a Linux distribution (cough… Debian)  with an environment focused on leave you with just the options that you need to use.

An example of Mac OSX Mavericks

Mac OSX – Mavericks – So Simple and boring…

One of the OS objectives is to integrate other Apple products with your Mac, for example both Calender, Facetime, photos and notes are synchronized with your mobiles (both iphone or ipad), so you can consider that your files are automatically shared between your devices, the main problem here is that all Apple devices are kinda expensive, so if you don’t have at least one mobile device, the feature is virtually useless.

The latest version of this OS is Mavericks, I like the integration with other services like iCloud, it’s a really nice feature to have all my photos, notes, etc. automatically synchronized between my iPhone and my macbook pro, it does save a lot of time but it’s a forced synchro, you cannot really control it, while they are really making you doing things in a simple way, they reduce the amount of control that you have. That is the major problem with Apple software, they trade control for simplicity, in my case I like to be in control of my actions and personally I just use apple hardware for iOS development, otherwise I will just skip this OS.

Final thoughts…

I gave your my point of view and some of my experience, not exactly tons of information but you can see that I’m very open with the OS selection, I use Windows for gaming, Linux for hardcore servers and Mac for iOS development (barely), so I really don’t care the social implication of my choices and probably you should not too. If you decide to purchase an OS or go for a Free one, it’s because you need it, you analyzed its properties, you found something that you like, something that you can use to be more productive, do not make your decision by just following the flow of the market… be a smart consumer.

 

Some Sources:

http://www.wpcentral.com/steams-hardware-stats-show-over-25-percent-its-gamers-use-windows-881

 

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Carlos Alberto Umanzor Arguedas

Web Developer at carlosumanzor.com
Web Developer, QA Engineer and Gamer Enthusiast, Developer of Linkcrawler and Father of a future computer ninja.
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