Wednesday 20 June 2007

Operating System Wars

Apple, after being beaten and almost choked to death by Microsoft, Apple has unleashed what I like to call the “Mac Attack”. The Mac Attack fueled by Ipod sales, is attempting to convert Windows users by offering ease of use, aesthetic appeal and security. Hackers have been merciless with Windows during it history, Macs on the other hand have not yet suffered from these problems. Mac claims that it does not get hacked because Mac has better code, Windows and Linux users claim that Mac doesn’t get hacked because its worldwide Market share is only 2%.

Apple having founder Steve Jobs return to the company has started propaganda warfare. Its Commercial “Get a Mac” features Justin Long as the cool young Mac and John Hodgeman as the older more businesslike or “Square” PC. Get a Mac has been very effective in the United States convincing 5% of the population to purchase.

Microsoft Windows has tried to do the best of both worlds. Keep both Window loyalist close as well as keeping people tempted by Apple. To keep old school Windows fans loyal, Microsoft has tried to keep the insides. The inside being the development tools and configurability Macs just don’t have. Microsoft has also tried to keep those tempted by Mac by offering ease of use and ascetics. The result is that Vista requires an incredibly fast machine with lots of RAM. The amount of Ram required is offset by an amazing Windows Innovation known as Readyboost. Readyboost takes your Flash Memory of 256MB up to 4 GB and makes it into basically RAM. The Readyboost RAM will not be as fast as your computers physical Ram but it will be much faster than a Swap file on the hard-drive, which is slow.

While the two companies do battle, an unpaid alternative hides in the shadows. Linux, a free operating system, is being heavily supported by China and Japan. China and Japan are countries that do not want to have to be tied to Microsoft’s expensive software. However expensive it might be to the Chinese, using Linux has its downfalls including its lack of technical support. As Linux grows, it becomes more and more of a threat as better and better code is created. Linux is always a few years behind the paid alternatives but it will force Windows and Mac to upgrade faster or will cut off their revenue.

Which operating system will dominate the future? As long as the computer market continues in the current direction, Linux by far.

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