History and Comparison of Windows, Linux, and Apple Essay

History and Comparison of Windows, Linux, and Apple Essay

An operating system is a set of programs containing instructions that work together to coordinate all the activities among computer hardware resources. Most operating systems perform similar functions that include starting and shutting down a computer, providing a user interface, managing programs, managing memory, coordinating tasks, configuring devices, establishing an Internet connection, monitoring performance, providing file management and other utilities, and automatically updating itself and certain utility programs (Shelly p. 398). There are three major operating systems that exist today that are going to be compared to decide which operating system could be best for different user purposes.

The three operating systems are Windows, Linux, and Apple.

Windows operating system is developed and maintained by Microsoft in Seattle, WA. The Microsoft Company was developed by Bill Gates. The first version of the Windows operating system was released in 1985, and has been the leading operating system used by 90% of users (Satyam). It is used by the Server 2008 R2 (Satyam). Windows is a Graphical User Interface (GUI) which allows its users to manage files and run software programs easily on desktop and laptop computers (Satyam).

On the desktop, icons are used to represent programs that are easy to find and can be clicked to easily access and run the program of choice. Windows is also very popular because of its user interface programs such as Microsoft Office, which include Microsoft Word, Microsoft Power Point, and Microsoft Office Outlook. Windows also has a great reputation for its high and efficient security. Some popular Windows editions are Win 98, Win 2000, Win Me, Windows NT, Windows CE, Win 2003, Win XP, Win Vista and Windows 7 (Satyam). Windows 8 is now the new successor of Windows 7 and is now available.

Linux (Linus’ Unix) is a leading server operating system, and is used for running the top 10 fastest supercomputers in the world (Satyam). Linus Torwalds created Linux, and is the current owner of the Linux Trademark (Satyam). LIndows, Lycoris, Red Hat, SuSe, Mandrake, Knopping, Slackware are the various companies that distribute the Linux operating system (Satyam). NASlite is a version of the Linux operating system that runs off of a single floppy disk and converts an old computer into a file server (Satyam). Some popular versions of Linux include Debian, Fedora, and Red Hat. This operating system is ranked just below Windows operating system, but is quickly becoming popular and is predicted to give future Windows some tough competition.

Since 1984, Mac OS 9 had been Apple’s primary operating system, but has been recently succeeded by Mac OS X. Mac OS X is a sequence of Unix-based operating systems and GUI’s developed, marketed and sold by Apple (Satyam). Mac OS X is user friendly, and is popular for its plug-and-play support, which means the operating system automatically configures new devices as they are installed (Shelly p. 408).

As stated in the beginning of this paper, Windows, Linux, and Apple are the three most popular operating systems with Windows as the most popular of the three with 85% to 90% of personal computers using this operating system (Satyam). Compared to Windows, Mac is used by fewer people, but is more reliable and less likely to fail than Windows OS because of Mac regularly monitoring and the software and hardware add-ons. Linux is the least popular of the three and is based on UNIX, which has been used for more than three decades that now powers about 90% of Web sites (Satyam). Compared to both Mac and Windows, Linux is an open source project, meaning anyone can modify the Linux Code (Satyam). Linux offers great security and flexibility compared to Windows and Mac, but it takes a great deal of knowledge to install and operate the Linux operating system. Linux is also very much less expensive or even free compared to Windows operating system.

When using a server, Linux is much cheaper compared to Windows because Microsoft only allows only a single copy to be used on one computer. However, once Linux is purchased, it can be used on any number of computers at no additional charge (Satyam). Windows can make it difficult for users to store user information and settings and switch to a new computer, but Linux stores the user’s data in the home directory, making it easier to transfer from an old to a new computer (Satyam). In conclusion, Linux is much more secure, reliable, flexible, and more cost efficient than Windows or Mac, but much more difficult to install, understand and operate, it is ideal for industry sectors. Windows and Mac operating systems are much easier for personal use and require less knowledge than Linux operating system. Windows and Mac, however, are more expensive, but are more widely used than Linux, with Windows leading the three in popularity.

Shelly, G. B., & Vermaat, M. E. (2011). Discovering Computers 2011: Living in a Digital World, Complete (pp. 398-408). Boston, MA: Course Technology, Cengage Learning. Satyam. (2011, June 29). Windows, Linux or Mac OS?? A Comparison. In HackDigital. Retrieved September 26, 2012, from Google.

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