What is Operating System

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An operating system, or "OS," is software that communicates with the hardware and allows other programs to run. It is comprised of system software, or the fundamental files your computer needs to boot up and function. Every desktop computer, tablet, and smartphone includes an operating system that provides basic functionality for the device.

Common desktop operating systems include Windows, OS X, and Linux. While each OS is different, most provide a graphical user interface, or GUI, that includes a desktop and the ability to manage files and folders. They also allow you to install and run programs written for the operating system. Windows and Linux can be installed on standard PC hardware, while OS X is designed to run on Apple systems. Therefore, the hardware you choose affects what operating system(s) you can run.

Mobile devices, such as tablets and smartphones also include operating systems that provide a GUI and can run applications. Common mobile OSes include Android, iOS, and Windows Phone. These OSes are developed specifically for portable devices and therefore are designed around touchscreen input. While early mobile operating systems lacked many features found in desktop OSes, they now include advanced capabilities, such as the ability to run third-party apps and run multiple apps at once.

Since the operating system serves as a computer's fundamental user interface, it significantly affects how you interact with the device. Therefore, many users prefer to use a specific operating system. For example, one user may prefer to use a computer with OS X instead of a Windows-based PC. Another user may prefer an Android-based smartphone instead of an iPhone, which runs the iOS.

When software developers create applications, they must write and compile them for a specific operating system. This is because each OS communicates with the hardware differently and has a specific application program interface, or API, that the programmer must use. While many popular programs are crossplatform, meaning they have been developed for multiple OSes, some are only available for a single operating system. Therefore, when choosing a computer, make sure the operating system supports the programs you want to run.

Difference Between Mac OS, Windows, Linux

Flexibility

If you've used OS X, you know it's user-friendly but not very flexible. In that regard, OS X is very much like Windows: You get what you have and there's not much you can do with it. If you don't like the layout of the desktop, you can move the Dock to either side, you can shrink it, or you can make it auto-hide. You can also add third-party applications and themes the desktop. Outside of that, you're out of luck. Say, for example, you would like to have only the Dock on your desktop (with the taskbar features integrated). You can't do it. That taskbar is as much a part of OS X as the Blue Screen of Death was in Windows 95. Linux is a different story. You don't want the taskbar but you like its features? No problem. Add whatever features to whatever taskbar or panel you want. Linux can pretty much take any configuration you throw at it. And if you still don't like what you have, install a different desktop or window manager and you're good to go.

Open source

One of the biggest issues that Linux users have with OS X is the license. Apple took a BSD kernel to create its own Darwin kernel, released it under the Apple Public Source License (which was accepted by the Free Software Foundation), and then layered on top of that proprietary software to create OS X. At one point, Apple created OpenDarwin, which was a collaborative effort between Apple and the open source community. That project lasted four years before Apple took it down because it felt the effort to create an open source Darwin operating system had failed. In 2007, PureDarwin was created to continue the work that was developed with OpenDarwin. The PureDarwin project has come a long way and can even run Linux-based window managers (such as Enlightenment) on top of it. OS X, however, is still locked tightly together and can't compete with the openness of Linux.

Command line

Although most OS X users would balk at this (saying they have no use for the command line), most power users know the command line is crucial to serious administrative tasks. In this department, OS X falls way short of Linux. With Linux, you can do pretty much everything you need from the command line. With OS X? Good luck. Sure, OS X does have a fairly good set of command-line tools, but for the power admin, it's just not enough. This is one area of OS X that I simply can't figure out. Why didn't Apple just migrate the Linux coreutils over to OS X? There are projects aimed at getting coreutils to compile on OS X, but it would have made more sense to have this by default. The coreutils package is a huge toolkit that contains nearly every basic command you need. OS X had to reinvent that wheel. But this goes beyond the coreutils package. What about installing via command line? What about command-line security? What about starting/stopping services from the command line?

Security

In the most recent "Pwn 2 Own" competition, both the OS X and the Windows Vista machines were hacked, whereas the Linux machine was not. Of course there are pundits across the globe who will argue this one from all three sides, and finding unbiased results is akin to finding a definitive answer to the age-old TCO argument. But I can say, unequivocally, after 10-plus years of experience with Linux, that I have never had a machine or server compromised in any way. This, of course, is not to say that OS X is unsecure. But Linux simply is better equipped in the area of security. How? Tools. With tools like iptables, fwbuilder, and SELinux, Linux can lock down in many ways, on many levels. So you take a similar kernel but you add to that kernel-level tools to heighten security, and you can quickly see how Linux overpowers OS X in the area of security.

Portability

Another area where Linux shines over all other operating systems is in its ability to migrate an installation from hardware to hardware. Linux has an uncanny ability to be able to relocate. I have taken complete hard drives and moved them from one machine to another. So long as the architecture was the same (in other words, not moving from a x86 to an x86_64 machine), the migration always seemed to work with little to no adjusting. OS X, on the other hand, is landlocked to the machine it was installed in. Also, with Linux, you can take certain directories and move them from machine to machine. This works well with the /home directory. Having the ability to migrate your /homedirectory from one machine to another can make building machines a snap. With OS X, you'll always be reinstalling

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More available software

This may come as a surprise to you, but Linux has far more software available than OS X. In a completely unscientific test, I did a search for both Linux and OS X on Welcome to Freecode (an index of UNIX and cross-platform software). Here are the numbers: Linux 11,781 results. OS X 1,477 results. Of course, many would say that it's not a fair search because Welcome to Freecode is decidedly an open source leaning repository. With that in mind, lets turn to Google and search for OS X Software and Linux Software. The results: OS X 19,100,000 hits. Linux 45,700,000 hits.

One of the things that separates Linux from all other operating systems is that for every task in Linux, there are numerous tools available to undertake it. Let's look at the task of word processing. For Mac, you have Microsoft Office and OpenOffice as the major players, and then you have minor players, like Bean, Nisus, Mellel, and NeoOffice. With Linux, you have the major player OpenOffice, and then you have the minor players Textmaker, Abiword, Hangul, EZ, Kwrite, gedit, nano, vi, emacs, Flwriter, Ted, Siag Office, LaTeX, EditPad Pro, etc. You get the picture. And yes, you can install Linux apps on OS X with Fink. I've done this. It's not a good solution because the software often is prone to crashing or not running at all.

Not so dumbed-down

I have tried to come up with the phrase that is the opposite of "dumbed down," but I've had no luck. So work with me on this one. One thing that Apple did very well with OS X is dumb down the operating system interface to the point where most all tasks are easy for anyone to do. But there are those who do not want that dumbed-down experience. With Linux, you can have a desktop experience on every level. You can have the full-on, dumbed-down experience akin to OS X with either GNOME or KDE. Or you can go to the complete opposite and use the console as your desktop. Or you can experience anything and everything in between the two. With OS X, many power users feel like someone is holding their hand throughout the experience. With Linux, you can let go of that hand from time to time or even chop the hand off and replace it with a hook. When you're using the Apple desktop, OS X is in control. When you use the Linux desktop, you are in control.

Keyboard efficiency

One of my biggest pet peeves with OS X is the fact that there is no normally functioning Delete key. Instead you have to hit fn + Delete to get the delete key to work as it should. This is pretty common practice with the OS X keyboard, which is about as efficient to a hard-core programmer as a salad is tasty. And it's not just the Delete key. The End key doesn't do what you would expect, either. To get to the end of the line, you have to add the fn key to the End key (so fn + End will get you to the end of the line.) Another issue — mouse buttons. I know this is a fundamental design that makes sense to Apple. But the majority of people like two mouse buttons. And with Linux, you actually get THREE mouse buttons. With those three mouse buttons, you can even do a simple copy and paste function (highlight text with a left mouse button and then click the middle mouse button to paste). The Linux keyboard is just far more efficient than the OS X keyboard.

Which Operating System is Better

Windows

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  • If you have a decent hardware, then Windows will operate quite good.
  • If you're just planning to do your day-to-day common tasks, playing with your presentations, documents, etc then Windows is good.
  • If you're using it for playing games, then majority of games are available on Windows platform.
  • If you're going to do basic programming, then Windows has softwares available for that. ( Although advanced programming compilers are also available, but Linux is better in terms of program efficiency/optimization ).
  • If you want hassle-free maintenance & repairing of your OS, then Windows is the choice for you.
  • Linux

  • If you don't have high specs hardware, Linux will still run on your machine flawlessly. On the other hand, if you have a decent hardware, Linux will run buttery smooth. (The thing is, Linux uses very less hardware footprint for its internal use, so as a benefit more hardware resources are available for user applications, hence faster UI/UX).
  • If you want minimal OS components, no bloatware services/processes, then you can strip down components of Linux and make it as lightweight as you want.
  • If you want to do programming, then Linux has quite faster compilers and interpreters available.
  • If you are keen to understand the internal workings of OS, and dedicated to solve your OS problems yourself, then Linux is good for you. ( Comparatively repairing Linux is more challenging than Windows, you've to manually search what went wrong and know the right commands to correct it. Note that, I'm only talking of software issues, hardware issues rectification has nothing to do with the OS ).
  • MacOS

  • If you have a heavy pocket ( loads of money ), then go for MacOS. Buying MAC is costlier than both Windows & Linux, mainly because of the underline hardware from Apple Inc. on which it runs. ( Though nowadays, there are third-party modders who have successfully ported it for other hardwares as well but mind it, that's not official.
  • If you want your PC to look like a status symbol, then go for MAC. ( MAC has a reputation in the market, both due to its high cost & quality make ).
  • If you're are a guy who likes to do what he is told to do & don't want to explore other world, then MAC is for you. ( Lots of restrictions for using softwares are there in MAC, though they say that it is for so called “security reasons” ).
  • Just like Windows, if you like hassle-free maintenance, then MAC is also good for you.
  • If you wanna pay for each & every software that you want to use, then MAC is the choice for you. ( Except some popular free softwares, most other big softwares are paid. Actually they are also paid in Windows too, but you'll mostly finds cracks for using them for free. NOTE : I'm not supporting piracy in any way, I recommend buy the softwares that you use ).
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