A quick overview of operating systems
Operating systems are the piece of software that make computers work for us. It handles hardware control, user input and running programs in multiple windows. Without an operating system- or OS for short- a computer would just be a heavy combination of microelectronics without any use.
While Windows is the most commonly used OS for personal computers, this has not always been the case. Especially in the early days there have been all sorts of operating systems, usually depending on the type of computer used.
Today, thanks to compatibility, there are only a few operating systems that have commercial relevance.
Next to Microsoft Windows and it’s different versions there is Linux and Mac OS X.
Special programme for Apple users
While Linux runs on virtually anything from computers, smartphones or even routers, Mac OS is strictly bound to run on Computers distributed from Apple.
However, ever since Apple switched from G4/G5 processors to Intel CPUs, people have tried to install Mac OS to regular computers- and succeeded. While this is an interesting subject, it may not be suited for the average user as every official update might cause stability issues.
Linux available in many versions
Linux on the other hand is available in many versions and runs on almost any computer. It is free software and can be modified by anyone capable of doing so.
While it has been improved by it’s developers to be more user friendly, it still waits for it’s success on personal computers. The main reason for this is probably found in hardware driver development.
Many companies do not develop drivers for Linux as the target group is too small to be of interest. While the community develops alternative drivers (SANE scanning for example) for devices itself, Windows remains the most used operating system almost anywhere in the world.
At least for desktop and laptop computers: On cellphones, Google’s Linux based Android is currently getting very popular among manufacturers and users. While a few years ago every company had their own OS solution, Android may cause the industry do develop more standardized hardware and may initiate an ongoing success for other Linux operating systems on different platforms.