Apple, Linux & Windows

Posted on Posted in General Posts, Home and Family, Residential Tech

Before becoming a full time House Flipper, I was in the IT industry for over 25 years’  and have worked with UNIX, OS/2, Windows (starting at 3.1), Novell Netware (starting at ELS I), Apple MAC (on the 9″ grey scale) and Linux (since mid 90’s on and off) over the years.  Like most users, I have had my complaints about almost all of them from aspect or another and for various versions.

The one thing that bothers me the most is that the battle between the OS’s has become obnoxious.  What I find amazing is that a user of one primary OS seems to think it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread while barely “touching” the others.  Yes, there are converts from Windows to MAC OSX who have in the beginning stated “why did I wait so long?”  But the enthusiam inevitably fades as they start to notice the quirks of the MAC and experience the “eh hem” Apple tech support and “genious” bar.  SIDE NOTE: who’s “genious” idea was it to require an appointment to get your question answered or your MAC turned in for service?  Anyway, I digress.

As an “expert” in the IT field, and I say that only because that’s all I have every done in the 23 years since leaving University, here is my take on the OS’s available to the general public.  This means Windows, MAC OSX and Linux (various flavours).

Each OS has its place on the desktop.  Each has its merrits of operation.  Each has its issues and disadvantages.  BUT NO ONE IS BETTER THAN THE OTHERS.

I’m not going to go into any particular version, because I’m sure we can agree that fault can be found with any particular release of any OS, so for the most part my comments will be based on the most recent releases (in general) of each OS.  For Linux, I have only recently worked with Ubuntu and Debian releases and I have not worked all that much with OSX Lion as of yet.

Here’s why:

MAC OSX

It’s a great operating system on a pretty good platform.   The hardware, being controlled by Apple, is perfectly matched to the OS and therefore I would expect nothing less than optimal performance.  It’s great for beginners, but really, in 2012 how many are there?  It makes it very easy to communicate with your iPhone, iPod and iPad if you happen to like those platforms.  It does the best job on graphics and multimedia than I’ve seen in any other platform, but that only good if you are in an industry that requires that.

The negative aspects of the OSX is that the platform as a whole is expensive when compared to the other options.  The software library for businesses is lacking ( I dare you to find an Corporate or Enterprise accounting package), and the software in general is expensive as well.  Then we can talk about the security, or lack thereof.  I won’t get into how easy it is to find the user list and password store on the MAC if you use the default out of the box settings, as most users will, as I’m not into giving tips on hacking.  Further, it never ceases to amaze me how many MAC users still believe they are immune to viruses and malware.  Now, I’ve never been hit by a car but I still take precautions when cruising the streets! Wink wink, nudge nudge.

Windows

Over the years, Windows and it’s users have taken a lot of heat.  But you have to admit it has the lions portion (pardon the MAC reference pun) of the OS desktop.  Apple is closing in, but not in the corporate world for the reasons I mentioned above.  Let’s face it, you can 2 Windows PC’s or laptops for the same price of a relatively equivelant MAC.  I also think that Windows 7 is a very stable and secure platform and Microsoft has done a pretty good job of backward compatiblity by building in XP Virtual mode.  The availability of software for just about anything you need is there.  All of these reasons, and more, are why Windows is the platform of choice in most businesses.

On the negative side, Windows is not a fast as OSX on a MAC but that brings us back to Apple controlling the hardware and OS.  Also, Microsoft has made it such a generalized OS that it does many things well, but not one particular thing great, but that helps keeps the cost down. I also have a very big problem in the way certain applications are embedded into the OS.  Yes, it can provide for better security, faster operation via integration and such, but it stiffles the competitive market from others who may have a better product.

Linux

I like Linux of various flavours and have used many over the years.  The installation of the OS has gotten much better as well.  There is a large variety of free applications for just about any need for the individual user or small business and the platform can’t be beat for networking and WEB needs.  You can’t really complain too much about something that is free.

Now, to continue with the free part – you get what you pay for.  Although the availability of applications is tremendous, most are home grown and don’t come with good documentation (or any) and have little or no support.  The larger Linux companies offer support, but that’s where they make their money.  Even though the installation methods have gotten better over the years, it’s still a task for the average computer user.  Installing applications is even more tricky as there are many steps involved for support apps and libraries unless you get apps designed for your particular release or use RPM’s or other standardized installation methods.  The support and lack of standards is why this platform hasn’t made huge inroads into business and households.  This one is best left to us geeks, but it has it’s place.

The oppinions above, and they are just opinions, are that of my own.  You may agree or disagree with all or in part, but I believe everyone has a right to their oppinion and no one is definitively right or wrong.  Like a comedian once said (I forget which one) and I paraphrase for the reader: “Opinions are like butts; everyone has one and they all stink”. 🙂

About the author: Darren Lenick is the owner of Magen Services Holdings, LLC located in Orlando, FL.  Before becoming a house flipper, he worked for over 25 years in the IT Industry.

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