Windows, Mac or Linux? What’s the difference?
WTH is Linux? Is the question which prompted me to write this blog. I have been applying to development jobs for a couple months now and I kept seeing the ability to use Linux listed as a qualification. Admittedly, I would just skip that listing since I knew I had no experience with it. Then, I kept seeing it again and again and thought to myself, “Ok, what’s the deal with why do some insist on using it?”
Linux is an operating system like Windows and Mac OS but how are these any different from one another? Let’s get into it.
- Windows is by far the most popular operating system on the market. It holds around a 90% market share worldwide.
- Most variety when choosing hardware. A machine can be found for almost any application whether you are looking to game, code or just surf the web.
- Highly customizable. If you’re technically inclined, you can easily source parts for a specific build.
- Perfect for any budget. A windows machine can be purchased for as low as $200 or up into the thousands mark depending on your need.
- Great choice for enterprise companies. A tried and true system easily capable of connecting teams within an organization.
- Throughout the years the system had undergone many changes of which not all were welcomed by its users. People value a consistent user experience across versions.
- Mac OS holds around a 9% hold on the operating system system market worldwide and around 20% in the US and similarly developed countries.
- Lower cost of ownership than many Windows products. Hardware is often initially more expensive than Windows counterparts. However, the total cost of ownership over a four year period has been shown to be lower by $273 to $543.
- Revered for its ease of use. The overall structure of the system has remained largely unchanged even from its beginnings.
- You can run most Windows and Linux applications on a Mac with higher spec components.
- Limited ability to upgrade components. Unlike Windows and Linux based systems, Mac OS machines are not meant to be very modular. This means that the specs you choose at your time of purchase will be the specs you are locked into until your next upgrade.
- Holds only a few percent of the marketshare.
- Open source system originally developed in 1991. Many different versions referred to as distributions or distros. Each distro tailored to very specific use.
- Constantly being worked on and developed by the community. Open source means that most of the ditros are free to use but users can also donate. This is appealing to some users value supporting fellow developers instead of big corporations.
- More secure than Windows. There aren’t as many malware programs, security flaws or exploits that can be found on other platforms. Mac OS is almost as secure.
- Linux can not be purchased already on a machine. An existing computer needs to be used to convert it to Linux. This process has been made easier over the years through online communities and youtube.
- Very hands on option. This is many times intimidating to users which is why this platform is not as popular as others. However, that same reason is its appeal. Many users configure Linux capable components to run it on various electronics from game consoles to their TVs.
So, which one do you prefer? I have gone from being a die hard Windows fan and a Mac hater to now being an Apple fanboy. I grew up on Windows so it used to be all that I had known. My first dip into the into the Mac OS pool came through my iPhone 6. I loved the phone so much that I took the plunge on a Macbook Pro and I haven’t looked back. I most enjoy the connectivity between all of my devices like my phone, laptop, and watch which I thought was amazing but then came in Linux. It seems that this OS can be configured to connect and run way more than just your regular consumer electronics and that is pretty exciting! I just might get a Raspberry Pi and see what trouble I can get into with it.