Fundamental differences between Windows, Mac OS, UNIX, and Linux operating systems for personal computers?

Follow
  • Follow publicly
  • Follow privately
  • Unfollow
What are the differences between Windows, Mac OS, UNIX, and Linux operating systems for personal computers. What are the unique characteristics of mainframe operating systems.?
Best Answer
Windows is a general applications OS, targeted largely at businesses. It has a very wide range of applications, many of which can be downloaded and run for free. It is notorious for the number of security holes it has, and has amazingly bad tech support.

MacOS is the operating system for Apple computers. It has a highly polished user interface, takes very little effort to use, and has decent tech support. Unfortunately, it isn't as popular as Windows, so you won't find the bredth of applications available for it. Also, if you want to do something cool, special and different, then you're hozed because the OS is designed around people who don't want to customize. MacOS really only runs on Apple computers, and the whole package tends to be more expensive than the Windows equivalent for the same power, although proponents aruge that the maintenance effort in Windows makes up for it.

Unix is a family of operating systems designed to run in a mainframe environment. There have been some efforts to make Unix work on PC's, but for the most part it remains the domain of large business systems. It has numerous user interfaces which tend to range from user hostile to badly outdated, but it works very, very effectively for server applications.

Linux is the most popular attempt to create a Unix-like operating system for personal computers. Until recently, Linux also had all of the limitations of Unix, with the sole benefit that you could run it on an Intel based PC. This one benefit has created an environment where pretty much anybody can write software for it, and they have. There's an amazing plethora of applications available for Linux. Unfortunately, they have traditionally been difficult to install, and not written by someone who had the user interface in mind. On the good side, both the operating system and most of the applications for it are entirely free.

Ubuntu has improved significantly on the "difficult to use" factor of Linux systems, but that is a story for another question.

The primary unique characteristic of mainframes is that they are multi-component systems, and each component tended to have its own processor. This differs from a desktop system because in that environment a single processor does all the thinking for most of the rest of the parts. This differentiation has been blurred recently, as desktop peripherals like video cards and storage devices have increased their intelligence in an effort to speed up their functionality and take load off of the main processor.
  • Rate
  • Comment

Other Answers (1)

  • SilverTonguedDevil answered 7 years ago
    Windows: Got its start with IBM Personal Computer in the 1980s and that alone caused businesses to focus on it. I can't see anything about Windows that indicates it is targeted at businesses. It just so happens that many small to medium sized businesses like the Microsoft Office software which makes them think Microsoft for the operating system as well. There are two main advantages to Windows: 1. Most companies only train their technical staff in troubleshooting Windows. 2. Almost all games have Windows compatibility even though an increasing number have Mac and Linux compatibility.

    Mac OS: Based on Berkeley (University of Cal at Berkeley) Software Division version of UNIX and centered on the kernel developed at Carnegie Mellon University. It is the fastest growing operating system (6.7% market share as of September 2007). From the introduction of the mouse and windows (lower case w) to the latest version, the Mac has set the pace for all other home computer systems. Advantages are ease of use, fully integrated hardware configurations thus avoiding conflicts and pre-installed applications that 'just work', no-brainer printer and peripheral hardware setup, second-largest software selection, tremendous power and high security.

    Linux: Based very roughly on UNIX, it has a small and diminishing following (less than 1 percent market share) and the fewest ready-to-run software titles. The technically-challenged public has little interest in the complexity of partitioning and software tweaking that is often necessary to make it work and keep the computer up and running. Advantage: Lower initial cost and image of the underdog.

    Mainframe systems: The computer hardware tends to be rigidly configured since they are intended to produce some specific results. Most modern systems are based on UNIX, particularly in government and military because of the tremendous power, versatility and security. The IBM mainframes can use a variety of operating systems, even Linux, but the most popular is z-OS which is UNIX with a multitude of advanced logging systems, security enhancements and Network File System improvements.

    Source(s):

    • 4
    • Comment
  • Sign In 

    to add your answer

Who is following this question?

    %
    BEST ANSWERS
    Member Since:
    Points: Points: Level
    Total Answers:
    Points this week:
    Follow
     
    Unfollow
     
    Block
     
    Unblock