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Friday, 18 October 2013

Best Operating System For You

Which one of the operating system (OS) available is the most superior of them all? I can't answer that, because that's all depends on how do you want to use it. Each operating system has their advantages, and each has their own shortcomings. 

Currently there are several front runners in the OS race. IMO, they are, Windows from Microsoft, Chrome OS from Google, Linux from many distributions, and Apple OS X. Windows and Linux can be run from any x86 computers. While Chrome OS is basically can be run on its proprietary hardware, and same goes to Apple OS X. 

Microsoft Windows

This is currently the most used computer OS in the world! Its latest iteration of OS is the Windows 8. I have tried the OS, and it is very good for touch screens. It has been customised for the touch screens that it would be a disadvantage if you only have a mouse to navigate across the screen.

Windows 8 has the same interface as a Windows RT and Windows Phone OS. The uniformity looks nice, and it also plays nicely with each other. Microsoft should be applauded with their effort on reinventing their OS over and over again.

Basically there are a lot of good things in Windows 8. It has a nice and clean interface. I like the live tiles, It's easier to find your favourite applications. It uses less memory compared to its predecessor, Windows 7 and play a lot of games on it. Yes, the games is actually one of the main reason that the OS is still one of the favourite. 

The bad thing about it would be that it is a little bit sluggish when used for a long time (1 year +). It is expensive, and is not as smooth when run with a low end PC. Not having a touch screen makes you feel a little bit in a disadvantage. 

Google Chrome OS

The Chrome OS by Google is one of the new OS in the market. It is usually shipped together with a Google ChromeBook. These ChromeBooks usually very sleek and comparable to a Ultrabooks that many manufacturers offer. There is also a base Chrome OS that are usable on other x86 computers, and it is called Chromium OS. 

When Google first come out with the ChromeBook and Chrome OS, the price tag has been quite high. I have always thought that it won't last long in the computer industry. However, as many years has gone by, it is still here. I'm guessing  Chrome OS is here to stay.

For me there are a lot of good things about Chrome OS. It automagically connects with Google Cloud services. Just like a Chrome browser, Chrome OS also has an automatic update of the OS, so you're always using the latest version of the OS. The UI and design is very simple, sometime I think that I'm using a tablet instead of a computer.

However, just like everything man-made, there are some imperfections. From my point of view, Chrome OS is very shallow. It's just like an interface for the Google cloud services. Even the ChromeBooks comes with a high spec, you don't feel like you use all the resources to the fullest. It is like buying the best games rig, but all you play is Solitaire. 

Apple OS X

The Apple OS X was first developed to run on Apple proprietary processors, and then moved on to be run on x86 Intel chips. There are times where the OS took a lot of things from the BSD OS, but Apple has been changing a lot of it and make it their own. 

OS X came together with any Apple Macs. It can be run on other x86 computers, but you have to find or program your own drivers to use all your devices. Major upgrades are sold for around £20. Apple latest OS X is Mountain Lion (10.8), but the Mavericks (10.9) is coming soon this year (link). 

The good. Apple OS X has the best user interface, this might be because Apple has been very keen in designs and fonts right from their first Mac. It has the ease of use just like of Windows, and the programming friendly just like of a BSD and Linux. It's like the best of both worlds. 

However, there is a shortcoming, Apple OS X can only run on Macs, which is very expensive. It plays nicely with other Apple product such as iPhone, iPad, etc. but not with a non-Apple product. It is a closed source, so its a little bit late on repairing problems with the OS. 

Linux OS

There are a lot of Linux distributions. Picture above shown some of them. I have only used a handful of them. I've tried Redhat, Fedora, Mandrake, Mandriva, openSUSE, Damn Small Linux, Ubuntu and Kubuntu. There might some that I've forgotten but I have a fair share on using it.

I was a fan of Redhat, but then Redhat started to divide into two parts, consumer and pro, Fedora and Redhat respectively. So I moved on to Fedora and later to Ubuntu. Among all of them, I think the best one for consume would be Ubuntu, and I hope it will go on to be the best (for me).

The pros of the Linux is for programming. I think it is the best platform for programmers. It is open source, therefore it is quite good if you want the latest, out from the oven softwares from programmers all over the world. In Linux, you're in control of everything. By everything, I mean e-ve-ry-thing. It gives you a lot of control on what's going on, and you can monitor everything that is running in front and at the back.

The problem with a Linux OS is the installations. Not all people can install the OS on computers that have been preinstalled with other OS. Having the whole world programming for you is a double edged sword. You get a lot of programs, and that means a lot of updates too. It's like having to update almost every other day.

Another problem is, Linux distros are more focused on performance rather than energy consumption. You can run Windows / OS X longer on a laptop computer, but it won't be the case with Linux. 


All these 4 OSes are here to stay. They are either run by big guns of the industry or by big community throughout the world. If you want me to choose for you, I can give a little guideline.
  • If you like to play games on your computer or if you have to use a Windows only software, use Windows. 
  • If you have extra cash and would like to utilise the (Google) cloud services at its fullest, get a Chrome OS.
  • If you have a lot of money and like to have a beautiful and capable OS, use OS X.
  • If you like to play with your computer and you like programming, use a Linux (I recommend either Ubuntu or Fedora).
Having a virtual machine might also help, but we will discuss about it later in the future. 

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