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By Andrew Horner

A few weeks ago I heard a quite amusing summary of Windows, Mac OS and Linux, it read something like this; “Linux is for developers, Mac OS is for GFX designers and Windows is for playing solitaire!”. Now, as you’re reading this, the chances are very great that you are using Windows as your OS. In fact, is estimated that 93% of all computer systems in the world are running Windows of some form. Only 4% are using Mac OS and around 3% using Linux.

Everyone knows Windows has weaknesses, and maybe a few too many of them. A few being; BSOD, driver compatibility issues, slowness and crashes , vulnerability to viruses and all the other ones that are too numerous to list. Mac OS and Linux do of course have their downsides, but the most critical problem with these is compatibility. The inability to run your favourite programs on Mac OS or Linux can be infuriating.

Linux is mostly known as a symbol of open source software, being free and available at all times, with dedicated programmers from around the globe working hard to ensure that the most popular distributions are running smoothly and securely. And in reality this is true and has been for many years now. Linux’s key to stability and security is the fact that it’s open source, allowing anyone to find bugs or security holes. However, with Windows and Mac OS this is not possible, as their source code is protected by copyright laws.

Another Linux advantage is it’s epic stability and uptime, making it a primary choice for network administrators to use on servers. Some servers have been known to run constantly for 9 months to 1 year without a single reboot.

Mac OS is commonly used among graphics designers, due to it’s flexibility and the various tools that are offered only on Mac OS.

Fortunately Mac OS offers the same stability as Linux, combined with Windows’ user friendly atmosphere, making it a good choice for intermediate and advanced computer users.

It has often been said that Windows’ only advantage is the fact that so many developers program for Windows OS, and because so many people use Windows, game developers target their games at Windows users. Windows’ popularity can be down to it’s simple to use interface which is almost idiot-proof, making it a more practical choice for less technical users.

However large the advantages of Linux or Mac OS are, people will continue to use what is offered to them, which is 92% of the time, Windows. Therefore developers will target their programs at the most popular OS, Windows. This makes people more stuck to Windows…and so the cycle continues. Will it ever break?

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