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Choose Your OS

Dean Nicholas - Wednesday, May 30, 2018

In this week’s column, we will take a look at the three mainly utilized Operating Systems (OS) used on Personal Computers (PCs). Which is best suited to your particular needs?

Windows OS

The Microsoft Windows family of Operating Systems are the most widely used operating systems in the market today. Every home, commercial building or facility uses some version of Windows.

There are several versions of Windows Operating Systems: DOS (Disk Operating System),Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8, just to name the more widely used ones. At present only Windows 7 and 8 are generally available. Note that we are only addressing here PC Operating Systems; Microsoft has a parallel range of Server Operating Systems which we will not address in this article.

The Windows OS can be practically used on any PC and can be obtained from any seller or even bought online. It is relatively inexpensive and easy to upgrade. In fact, it usually comes preloaded with your PC ‘at no additional cost’ i.e. bundled into its cost.

Basic technical support is widely available online. There is also a plethora of ‘how to’ books and texts available. Additionally, most or maybe even all high school or college courses in Computer Science expose students to the fundamentals of Windows.

Those of us old enough to remember DOS with its myriad commands and their respective syntax marvel at the tremendous advances made since the introduction of Windows 95 with its intuitiveness.

With Windows, you will need to buy an antivirus program to protect your computer, as the vast majority of computer viruses are designed to attack Windows operating systems. Another issue is that with Windows Vista and Windows 7, you will require a lot of computer memory, processor and disk space as compared to other Operating

System. As a general rule, each new version of Operating Systems requires more powerful processors than its predecessors.

Windows operating systems are best suited for general applications.

Linux OS

Linux is not actually a single Operating System but is a version of the Unix system. In fact, there are several flavors of Linux itself. Linux is usually free and easy to download, install, modify and update, once you become familiar with it. It can practically use on any PC. Linux Operating Systems generally require less powerful processors and less disk space to function.

The software is an Open Market or free OS, but can be tough to learn if you are used to using Windows. There are not nearly as many software programs written for Linux as for Windows and as a result, it can be difficult to achieve the same level of functionality using Linux as is available using Windows. However, most Linux-based software is Open Market, i.e., free to download and use, a significant consideration for those on a tight budget.

Linux is suited to highly technical/scientific applications which rely on custom programs (often written in Linux) and/or complex physical interfaces. Because of its low cost it is also chosen in low budget situations.

Macintosh OS

The Macintosh (or Mac) Operating Systems (named after the Macintosh apple) was developed by Apple for use on their computers, which are shipped with that operating system pre-installed. Like Windows, there have been many generations of the Mac OS. The current version is OS X.

The Mac OS was the first to introduce ‘point and click’ through the use of a mouse. Since that time Windows has been trying to capture the look and feel of the more intuitive Mac OS.

Despite the relatively higher cost of Apple Computers and the Mac OS ‘once you go MAC you don’t want to go back!’ The true Apple/Mac devotee will almost never switch to another OS. This is particularly true if the user’s primary application is in the field of audio or visual editing, where the Mac OS is much preferred to any other.

Mac OS is almost always the first choice of those involved in the Arts, whether they are deejays or graphic artists.

In conclusion, as in the case of any other kind of software the choice of an operating system depends on the user, the use to which the PC will be put and the available funds. Our advice is to consider all these factors and do thorough research before making your purchase.

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