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Linux, Mac OS X, Vista and XP: head-to-head

  Managing ed 17:19 25 Apr 2008

Each of the four biggest players; Linux, Mac OS X, Windows Vista and Windows XP have their merits, and each provokes strong opinions, for and against. So we've taken four experts and asked them to defend their chosen operating systems in an opinionated free-for-all.

click here

What do you think? (Backs away slowly...)

Seriously though, we're interested in forum-members'opinions. Fire away.



  bremner 18:08 25 Apr 2008

I regularly use all four of the O/S's and was a beta tested for Longhorn/Vista

Two years ago I was converted to OS X and still consider this to be the best of the bunch. It's limitations are that it can not run many of the programs I must use. Consequently I have Parallels installed and use XP Pro as well.

Linux is good but just not in the same league as OS X or XP.

Poor old Vista! Destined to be thought of as another ME?
In too many ways simply not better than the O/S it superseded.

I hope that MS get back on track with Windows 7 but I will not hold my breath

  mrwoowoo 20:21 25 Apr 2008

bremner has almost summed it up perfectly.
It's a basically,'horses for coureses' senario.
Xp is a very good OS and will do whatever most people want.If you are happy with it,stick with it.
Vista is also a very good and stable system once you(i) strip out a few things and customise it to how you want it.As a gamer i have had no problems with vista and gaming and have been very pleased with it although i had no problems with xp either.
If you like OS X , linux,xp or vista, then that is the best OS for you,and thats all that matters. And no amount of arguments will persuade you otherwise.

  Forum Editor 22:41 25 Apr 2008

"we've taken four experts and asked them to defend their chosen operating systems"

That means that you have to be subjective, not objective. Maybe it isn't them who should shut up?

  LastChip 23:42 25 Apr 2008

Out of the two Microsoft offerings, XP is the far better system. The least said about Vista, the better! Even Microsoft know it's a disaster.

MAC's are a very competent system, but suffer from one fatal flaw; they are massively over-priced.

That leaves Linux. Very underrated by most, mainly through ignorance. I've all but forgotten about viruses and malware since using Debian as my main system. The boot time leaves Vista and XP in the shade and as soon as my desktop becomes available, I'm ready for work.

Much is made about Vista's improved boot times, but like most Microsoft claims, is not actually true. When the desktop appears, there are still many services still loading in the background that doesn't render the system ready to use. Not so with Linux.

Maintenance on Linux is a non-event, No more regular scanning, updating endless anti-virus and anti-malware software. No more defragging. Not necessary!

And stability, well that's almost legendary in Linux and something that Microsoft can only dream about.

Linux? Fast, stable, secure, and free.

Just switch the computer on, and use it.

  Forum Editor 08:51 26 Apr 2008

I'm surprised to see someone saying "The least said about Vista, the better! Even Microsoft know it's a disaster."

I use Vista on all my office and home-office machines, and I can honestly say I haven't had a single problem - it's far and away the best version of Windows I've ever used, and I don't hesitate to recommend it to clients.

Admittedly it does need a reasonably specified machine to run well, but Microsoft has never claimed otherwise - the world moves on in the technology business, and you can hardly blame software developers for wanting to stimulate the market. The old adage always applies - if you're happy with an earlier, or alternative operating system stick with it - nobody is forcing anyone to buy Vista.

Mac OSX is fine, and I use it on a daily basis - I have one PowerMac on my network. Everything works, and it looks OK, but it doesn't hold a candle to Vista. Apple don't have to work so hard with their OS because the hardware/software environments are fairly predictable.

Linux is very familiar, I work with it on servers in my daily life, and it does the job superbly. As a desktop system it has failed to make any real impact in the market, even after all these years of trying, and I doubt that it ever will. It takes serious money to develop a world-class desktop system, one that can be used in millions of different hardware environments.

  Forum Editor 15:01 26 Apr 2008

"all we get is the forum editor spouting his love of vista and shouting down all those who object to it. Same story."

You seem to have a problem with reading. There are eight other contributions - all expressing their views.

The only comment I "shouted down" as you choose to see it, was in fact someone who said (of the people who wrote the articles "Write objectively, or shut up." but didn't actually express an opinion at all - there was nothing for me to 'shout down'

I'm as entitled to have an opinion about Vista as anyone else, and that's all I have - an opinion - so I've expressed it. You don't seem to have an opinion on anything - you simply want to spend your time making gratuitous insults without bothering to add anything of value at all.

  anskyber 19:42 26 Apr 2008

It's no good repeating something which has already been said. My own views are similar to the Forum Editor in his Sat, 26/04/[email protected]:51 post.

I have Vista, which for me on the right machine is excellent, I also have XP which is also good but showing its age.

Macs are fun but ultimately limited by the unhelpful link to the hardware ( no real freedom) and the less available software. My limited experience with ubuntu leads me to applaud a great idea but ultimately not a real winner, it's the Barnsley in the football world.

I honestly wish the MS competitors well, strong competition is always good for innovation. For those who will wait for Windows 7 on the more usual 3 year cycle of OS release (XP was the odd one out) I say I understand, be aware it will simply be an evolution of Vista and just as full, but then no doubt it will be greeted with open arms.

I can see the issue with Vista, business which is the ultimate prize for MS, sees less obvious advantage when comparing with a solid XP. Business does however usually have a three year hardware replacement strategy, XP untimately will go and a few consumers will hold on, for perfectly understandable reasons.

  Managing ed 18:03 28 Apr 2008

All nice and subjective!

For what it's worth, I have two machines at home, one running Vista, one OS X. For years my Mac was my primary machine. I work in publishing and Apple has long been the default choice in certain corners of the creative industries. But increasingly I find myself using the Vista PC. It's partly down to compatibility, although it is nice to look at something a bit prettier than XP's utilitarian interface. And for all its simplicity, I do find myself banging the ceiling from time to time in OS X. So I'm becoming a Vista fan, with the proviso that you need to take care of that system overhead.


  Managing ed 10:26 30 Apr 2008

I think you may be on to something there - a major chunk of the complaints about Vista come from upgraders from XP machines (and 256MB RAM was perfectly acceptable a couple of years ago) and new buyers of underspecced systems.

My brother-in-law bought a low-cost laptop recently, and it was like wading through treacle. I tweaked it a little (removed the sidebar, that sort of thing) and it's much better now, but combined with the change from XP, peripharel driver problems and the 'upgrade' to Office 2007, to non-techie people 'Vista' can seem like a lot of confusion and bloat, with no real benefit.

Really, people who use their PCs mainly for surfing and a bit of word-processing should be pointed toward Home Basic and MS Works, but the 19-year-old sales clerk on the high street is unlikely to agree.

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