Choosing an operating system can become a difficult task. You need to consider your budget, software needs, and other concerns. Always look for the best operating system to fit your needs. Here are some options and tips in choosing your operating system.
Features and qualities to consider in comparing operating systems:
- User friendliness. Different operating systems have different levels of learning curves for users. Some operating systems may be easier or harder to use for beginners. For example, the Mac OS X is consistent and easy to use because most dialog boxes and menus are located in the same place and are used in the same manner. This however, does not apply to operating systems under Windows. Keep in mind also of your familiarity and background with a type of operating system. If you are a Microsoft Windows user, it may be difficult for you to use different operating systems such as Mac OS, BSD or Linux. This also applies if you are a user of Mac, Linux or BSD using Windows.
- Availability of software. Consider the type of software that you will use in conjunction with your operating system. Open source applications are abundant in Linux; while shareware, freeware and commercial applications are more abundant in Windows. The Mac OS has limited varieties of third-party software support. You can find variations of applications you need in most of the operating systems. Keep in mind that Linux lacks some commercial alternatives, and that both Linux and the Mac OS X are lacking in terms of specialized software. Mac OS X does come, however, with an intro suite of applications that makes working with multimedia files such as music, videos, and pictures easier.
- File sharing capabilities. Consider the ability to share files with others and collaborate with other users. Keep in mind that most users who work with files or applications do their file sharing with a Windows operating system. This is because among all operating systems, Windows has the highest share of the market. This does not affect or reduce the file sharing capabilities of other operating systems such as Linux or Mac OS because files can be shared even if they are in formats best suited for Windows. Keep in mind also that media files such as images, sound files or music and video files have formats which can be used by all platforms.
- Office software. Take note of the office software of the operating system you will use. Microsoft Office is available for Windows as well as in Mac OS X and Linux via WINE or Crossover Office. Open Office however is free and is versatile for use in all platforms. Note that both of these office software support different file types such as doc, and OOXML.
Multimedia. Do not forget about the management and support of your media files. Keep in mind that playing music and video files are better suited for Windows and Mac OS, as these tasks require restricted downloadable software in both BSD and Linux. For the creation of multimedia files, the software in OS X known as iLife is good for beginners, but advanced users may need to use other applications and operating systems for advanced work.
Studio applications. The leading studio applications are only released for Windows and some are duplicated on the Mac OS. For Linux and BSD users, they need to use open source applications, which may not replicate the functionality of the leading studio applications.
Programming. Keep in mind that Linux and BSD are the best platforms for programming and software development because of their default compilers. Windows, however, has many other third-party IDEs. Mac OS does not have the same software development tools as other operating systems.