Let’s try to compare the most popular Operating Systems at the moment.
Meet the contenders:
Windows XP… from the Windows platform, as Windows Vista are way too “young”.
Ubuntu… from the Linux world, which is the number one distro according to Distrowatch.
Mac OS X… from the mighty Apple world.
Round 1 – cost
Windows XP: You could get it for free if you get a new computer, or you could buy it, it is not that expensive!
Ubuntu: Absolutely free, thanks to the Open Source community.
Mac OS X: You need to buy a Mac desktop or laptop, which in general is a quite more expensive solution than a PC.
Round 2 – usability / interface
(Considering an average user…)
Windows XP: Quite easy to install/un-install programs, customize the appearance, and do the most common stuff.
Ubuntu: Although the Ubuntu developers have done a great job to make it user-friendly, it still is Linux, and it would always be a little bit more complicated (console etc.) than Windows.
Mac OS X: Awesome out of the box, most eye candy interface of them all.
Winner: Mac OS X
Round 3 – compatible software
(Software running on Virtual Machines/emulators is considered cheating here!)
Windows XP: Corporate applications, all MS applications, Open Source applications, Games, almost everything you would ever wanted.
Ubuntu: Definitely less than Windows.
Mac OS X: Definitely less than Windows.
Winner: Windows XP
There could be more rounds (for example “security”, “support”), however it’s really hard to say which one of them is the best Operating System. It is all about the user and his own specific requirements.
Let’s consider some user profiles…
.NET programmer: Visual Studio 2005, SQL Server 2005… needs Windows (Mono? No, thanks!).
Java programmer: Windows/Linux/Mac OS… could program in either of them.
Web developer: Depending on the tools (e.g. Adobe CS3 Suite)… Windows/Mac OS is the choice.
Multimedia: Mac OS is more suitable and stable (and faster?).
Web/E-mail/IM: Windows/Mac OS/Linux… simply a matter of personal taste.
Gaming: Windows definitely.
Office user: Windows/Mac OS… unless you are an Open Source evangelist, and love OpenOffice, or Google’s online apps…
Each, and every one of us has his own Greatest Operating System… Customized, tweaked, themed, exploited according to his requirements and experience.
As you can figure out from this blog, I am a software guy, who is into programming (.NET at work), web developing, the Internet, and occasionally some multiplayer gaming. Therefore it would be hard to replace Windows XP with either Linux or Mac. However I am a happy Ubuntu user on Virtualbox, and I would like to try Mac OS at some point (wish it was working properly on a Virtual Machine). Maybe I should consider the affordable Mac Mini option in the future.