May 09, 2022
Last updated: Oct 17, 2022
What is an operating system?
- Simply put, the operating system can be referred to as the system software.
- This software controls all computer software and hardware, as well as providing services for various computer programs.
- Many people refer to an operating system as the backbone, since without it, no user or system can interact. Moreover, the operating system act as a mediator between the user and system.
- Mac, Windows and Linux are the three most common operating systems utilized by users worldwide.
Establishment of 3 operating systems – Mac, Windows & Linux
- Apple launched the first Mac OS of the series in January of 1984, even before Windows launched their operating system.
- This system was named “System 1”. It began as a graphical-based operating system that successfully functioned with Apple’s Macintosh PC’s.
- During the year 2001, Apple made a change to OS technology, which is Unix-like, when they launched Mac OS X, which is what is considered today as macOS.
- Over the years, macOS has progressed in various different ways, upgrading the system and all its architecture. In 2020, there was the most recent change to “Apple Silicon”, where Apple launched its own in-house processor chip.
- In 1981, Microsoft started to invest time into a project called “Interface Manager”. In 1983, “Interface Manager ” ultimately was renamed as “Windows”, when Microsoft released the first official version of Windows.
- Initially, Windows was released as a graphical user interface (for short GUI) which was actually an add-on for their already existing operating system named MS-DOS.
- This all led up to the release of Windows 95, which combined all of MS-DOS features, making Windows into a fully functioning graphical-based operating system.
- The Linux operating system was born as a result of the frustrations surrounding the MINIX operating system at the current time.
- MINIX is a Unix-like operating system which includes confined licensing.
- This led to Linus Torvalds, a Finnish university student, to work towards achieving an optimal operating system that would be free as well as open-source. This system, named Linux Kernel, was released to the public during 1991.
- A lot more work, time and effort had to be invested into this operating system in order to ensure that it would be a fully functioning one.
- This included the addition of new software, developing various programs and adding on new and improved utilities.
Advantages of using Mac as your personal computer:
- The same manufacturer (Apple) develops both the operating systems and the computers of Mac. This gives it a great advantage in terms of performance, as neither the systems or the devices will need to adapt. In addition to the devices and the computers, the peripherals, for example the monitors, mice and keyboards are also developed by Apple, allowing for smooth compatibility and avoidance of any problems
- MacOS is very intuitive, and even as a new user, it will be easy to use these products. There are visual guides available, allowing for great and easy user experience when utilizing these products
- Apple makes their products based off a very minimalistic design, they are compact and easy to carry around from place to place
- Mac products are innovative. Mac computers have a USB Type-C port, which allows for internationality. Additionally, Mac computers have a multi-touch trackpad, which allows you perform various operations by a simple touch, slide or movement of fingers.
- Mac products are less vulnerable to various different threats. This is not to say that one shouldn’t take precautions when it comes to cyber-attacks.
Disadvantages of Mac Products:
- Mac products are very expensive, costing thousands and thousands of dollars. This might put developers and programmers off from buying these products. A solution to these high prices is to buy these products second hand which will still be high-quality products.
- There is less software available for developers and programmers. Majority of programs that were not developed by Apple, turn out to be not compatible with Mac devices, which might pose a problem for developers.
- With Mac products, there will be more complicated repairs. If there is not a certified Apple store nearby, it will be difficult to get your device fixed, if any problem arises. These devices are used by a minority, which means there will be less repair specialists around, as more repair specialists would choose to work with different manufacturer. This might be very frustrating for developers and programmers, thus putting them off buying these products and devices altogether.
Advantages of using Windows devices:
- Windows is the most popular OS utilized by users in the world. This avoids the adaptation process as most individuals would have already used Windows programs.
- Windows devices come at a much more affordable price (when comparing it to Mac) making it much more appealing. You will be getting well-designed equipment at an affordable price, as well as a range of products varying in prices depending on what type of device you are looking for and for what reasons you would use it.
- Windows is compatible with most of the PC programs out there, which gives it a very big advantage compared to Mac.
- In terms of peripherals (mice, keyboards), there is more of a variety out there.
- Since Windows is very popular and used worldwide, computer experts will likely have more knowledge of how to deal with this OS. Consequently, if a problem were to arise, it will be easier to find a specialist to fix it. This is hugely advantageous for programmers, as it means that there will be less frustration for them if something would happen to go wrong with their device.
Disadvantages of using Windows devices:
- These devices are unstable since most Windows computers are not actually created by Microsoft. This means that some of the Windows’s functions might not be completely compatible with the software currently installed. This might cause issues for programmers and developers and might discourage them from using these products.
- Windows is vulnerable to viruses and cyberattacks, since the OS is used by most people around the world. Hackers aim at Windows users, posing a threat for developers and programmers.
Differences between Mac, Linux and Windows:
Mac, Linux and Windows are the three most popular operating systems for individuals to utilize that are available on the market. However, there are a couple distinct differences existing between each one of them. Windows has become the most dominantly used of the three operating systems and has claimed this title for more than 90% of users. The least used of the three would be Linux, with only 1% of users utilizing this operating system. Mac remains in second place, with an accumulative usage of 7% throughout the world. In terms of cost, Windows is expensive, starting from $100, however is still not as expensive as the Mac operating system, which forces users to buy a Mac system which is built by Apple. Linux is completely free of charge, and it can be downloaded and used by anyone, anywhere. Differences between these three operating systems exist in 4 main areas: file structure, registry, interchangeable interfaces, and their command terminal.
- File structure:
- This type of operating system utilizes a directory type of structure in order to store the various files belonging to the user. It incorporated drives and cabinet drawers, also including some folders. Examples of the most common kind of folders include: documents, pictures, videos, music and downloads.
- Any one of these files are stowed in these folders, but if a user wishes, they can generate a new folder.
- Additionally, Windows has a recycle bin as part of its operating system, where deleted files are able to be stowed.
- Mac’s file structure is MAC OS X. Whilst utilizing this operating system, users can delve into Mac’s hard disk through the function called “finder”. In finder, one will find many different directories.
- Users are able to explore file systems and directory structures by visiting various directories such as /Application or /Developer.
- This operating system’s file structure is completely unique and differs from the previous two.
- This could be a result of the different code that was used in order to develop this operating system.
- Linux’s file structure works in terms of storing data in the form of a tree. From this single file tree, many different drives are stored.
- This operating system has a registry that is a master database. This means that it stores all settings from your computer.
- Windows is in charge of stowing all information belonging to the user, including passwords as well as device-related information.
- Windows’s registry includes a type of editor, which enables users to see all keys and values.
- This type of system stows the entirety of application settings in a series of .plist files. These files have various different preferences folders.
- This file has all properties in plain text or they can appear in a binary format.
- Users will be able to find these properties stored at /Library/Preferences folder.
- This operating system does not have a unique registry belonging to them. Application settings are saved on a program basis.
- This is the same way files are stored, in a hierarchy format. On Linux, there isn’t necessarily a centralized database for storage, therefore this allows for the avoidance of periodic cleaning.
- Interchangeable interfaces:
- The interface of this operating system wasn’t necessarily interchangeable, until the release of Windows 8.
- This operating system allows for the blending of virtual network interfaces. This is conducted via system preferences and clicking on “managing the interfaces”.
- This operating system allows for a swift and easy switch between various interfaces. There are various utilities which assist in doing so, including GNOME and KDE.
- These utilities assist in concentrating on different aspects.
- Command terminal:
- In this system, the command prompt is a black box , allowing users to execute various demands.
- In this system, the command terminal is sometimes referred to as the “Windows Command Processor”. This prompt allows for the achievement of demands as well as various batch files.
- On the other hand, the command terminal can also be utilized for administrative purposes as well as troubleshoots.
- The Mac OS operating system provides the user with Terminal, an application that supports a console to enter commands.
- To delve deeper, it is important to understand what each of these terms mean.
- A command-line is utilized in order to type commands, a prompt supplies users with information as well as allowing for users to run their commands.
- A terminal is a type of interface that actually supplies the modern graphical user interface. On a Mac, you will be able to locate the terminal at Applications and then Utilities.
- Similarly, to Mac, Linux also supplies a terminal. This terminal can be located at Applications -> Systems or Applications and then utilities.
- Additionally, Linux has a shell prompt which is the most commonly used prompt in bash. This will determine how the terminal will behave and what it would actually look like when it is run by the system.
Which of the three operating systems do programmers and developers prefer to use – Mac, Windows or Linux?
As previously mentioned, Linux was a later developed operating system when comparing it to Mac and Windows. Linux is unique compared to the other two as it is both free and open-source. Considering this fact, this allows Linux’s users to alter, distribute and publish software code in a completely free manner. Additionally, Linux allows for multiple desktop and server distros (short for distribution), which the other two do not. Linux OS is utilized for both cloud and server software. Some examples of Linux distributions are Ubuntu, and RedHat Enterprise Linux. As we can tell by just a couple of these facts, it appears that Linux might be of preference for programmers and developers and we will now delve in further into more facts that makes this operating system most appealing.
Why Linux over Mac and Windows?
- Linux as an operating system is extremely reliable and secure, making it extremely appealing for both programmers and developers. Programmers and developers are always concerned about their security risks, and thus by often fixing issues, they can decrease their risk.
- As mentioned, Linux is free and open-source. This means that programmers and developers are able to cut back on costs and save money when it comes to software and licenses. This can be extremely appealing to young/early developers and companies who do not have an abundance of finances as of yet.
- Linux allows for users to have many different distributions. Users are able to personalize Linux systems to their wants and needs as well as optimize the systems to their greatest potential. As a result of this flexibility, Linux allows for an increase in user productivity.
- Compared to Windows, Linux is a much smoother and faster operating system. With Linux, there is less of a central processing usage (CPU) which allows for developers and programmers to have more space on their hard drives as well as memory.
- Linux does not update automatically, meaning developers and programmers are able to control when they would like to update their systems. This means that these programmers and developers will not get interrupted by random updates or rebooting. Linux’s installation is much quicker when comparing it to the installation time of Windows.
- Linux also has a large community of users, meaning developers and programmers are able to reach out to various other users if they might have any questions or unresolved issues. Additionally, Linux has many training courses, making the learning process easy and smooth for developers and programmers.
It is important to note that it is not that Linux does not have any disadvantages, however this operating system’s numerous advantages keeps it extremely appealing for all users around the world. Windows and macOS as mentioned also have their advantages but developers and programmers will still choose to utilize Linux over them as a result of Linux’s effective systems and quick running time. Linux also allows for users to be creative and innovative and it has many powerful tools, for example grep, awk and piping. These tools are often used by programmers and developers. Linux as an operating system is adaptable, fast, powerful