Arin Adamson
By Arin Adamson | Web Dev | January 26, 2016

Windows 10, OS X or Linux? : The Conclusion

In my previous article, I reviewed both Microsoft’s Windows 10 and Apple’s OS X for Mac operating systems. Both serve a different scope of users and both have their pitfalls. But what about Linux? Linux is nothing like Windows 10 or OS X, mainly because it’s a completely open-source operating system, meaning any computer programmer has the ability to make changes and customize the code as they see fit. While this may seem like a great feature, it does carry a few downsides.

LinuxLinux Operating System Penguin

Linux is a free, open-source operating system that can be installed and used freely on any device. Since it’s open-source, there are various different versions created by the Linux OS community. These are called distributions (or distro for short). Each Linux distro comes with different functionalities and capabilities, but for the most part the popular distributions share some common pros and cons.

Security and privacy are the biggest pros of Linux. Linux comes with capabilities to heavily encrypt and protect all of your computer’s data. No matter which distro you are using, there will always be some feature or app that can be installed to protect your computer from attacks and malicious users. The security of Linux is much better than that of Windows or OS X and there are no companies trying to collect your data, which makes Linux a great alternative if security is your biggest concern. Did I mention this is all free too? Yes that is right – it’s all free, but donations are encouraged throughout the Linux community. One last advantage of Linux is the customization options you have to choose from. However, this could just as easily be considered a con.

With the abilities to customize heavily and install community provided applications, comes compatibility issues. In particular instances, a certain customization can cripple your whole operating system. If you do not have the technical expertise to find and debug issues or use the command line to revert to a backup, you may be stuck with a broken operating system. Linux has a huge learning curve and this may not be the route the majority of computer users wish to undertake. Just finding the right drivers that work with your computer’s hardware can sometimes be a challenge. If you aren’t willing or don’t have the time to learn Linux then I’d recommend that you (sadly) avoid the Linux OS. Even using applications such as Wine, which is meant to provide support for Window’s .exe files, Linux can get frustrating when trying to find a Windows-purposed application that actually works as intended on Linux. Linux, for the time being, is not widely supported and this is its major downside.

So which one should I choose?

The majority of those questioning which operating system they should use are probably fed up with Windows, because most computers sold today are pre-installed with Windows. If you’re over using Windows, make sure you ask yourself why you dislike Windows and find out which operating system can fill those holes. Just be sure you’re not losing something else that’s important to you when deciding which operating system to install.

If it’s not a matter of getting off of Windows, answering this question is dependent on what you want from your operating system. Do you want that added privacy, security and customization? Go with Linux. Do you want a very stable OS that has all of the applications you need pre-installed, and are not concerned with the added price for the computer? Go with OS X. Do you want an operating system which comes with the widest support and are not concerned about a company collecting your data or the lack of security?  Go with Windows 10.

Your selection of an operating system is as important of a decision as the selection of hardware in your computer. The operating system will be using all of that hardware and feeding it data to compile, which produces the visual interface you see on your monitor. This is an important decision and, no matter where you’re leaning, make sure to do some more research before making a selection.

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