Current Desktop Operating Systems


In this research paper, we will analyze a couple of operating systems that are widely used today in homes and offices and each one of these operating systems has its distinguishing features from others. Thus through this report, we will compare these operating systems with respect to the following factors:

  • Price
  • Performance/Hardware/Features
  • Security
  • The operating systems that will be analyzed on the basis of the above five categories are
  • Linux (example, Ubuntu)
  • Windows (example, windows 7 / windows vista)
  • MAC OS (example, Snow Leopard)

All the examples that have been listed above are one of the latest operating systems from all the publishers that we are about to research upon. However, to start our discussion, we will first have to look at the overall market picture in order to see what is the current standing of these three operating systems amidst many others that are available today in the market? (Holcombe, 2002)

From the above diagram, we can see that the largest share possessed by any publisher of an operating system is Microsoft with almost 90% market share. Microsoft is one of the most trusted operating systems since decades when it was first launched. Although it was not the first one to come into the market, today it is definitely the first in mind whenever we talk about an operating system and Windows is its product. However, we will narrow our research with respect to the use and adaptability of these systems with the Business Applications and uses in order to be relevant to the topic of discussion.


Starting with the comparison for Price, first, we will consider the free version of operating systems. Linux supports the free software phenomenon in which free software should be supported and thus it came up with an entirely new category of the operating system which supported different software and applications that are available online free of cost and are compatible with the operating system. An example of this type of operating system is Ubuntu which gives the user the freedom to customize the operating system according to need and specifications.

Moving on to Microsoft Windows and Mac OS, we see that the price range of both the products is almost the same as far as the office editions are concerned. Both charge between $180-$200 with slight variations depending on upgrade and free software add-ons (Yahoo, 2009). Although Microsoft Windows has the largest market share and it can charge a higher price, but it is still competing with the Mac OS in order to retain its market share and not to lose it just because of price. As far as the business considerations are concerned, this price range includes around 5 licenses which means that a business can install five of its computers with the operating system under the title bundle. However, Microsoft Windows is also offering a free update of windows 7 from windows vista with every purchase of a pc that has windows vista pre-installed in it (Siberscatz, 2008).


When we talk about performance, we have to further take into account a couple of factors in order to integrate all of them to get an overall score for performance. These factors are speed, compatibility, graphics, fancy, customization, and reliability.

Starting from Microsoft windows, we see that Microsoft Windows is one of the heaviest operating systems of all the three that we are comparing today. The reason is the fact that the applications that Microsoft Windows supports, the level of user interface graphics it comes with, the reliability tools that it offers, and the compatibility it offers to the zillions of software and applications available out there that require Microsoft windows. Therefore, when we talk about speed, Microsoft windows fails to provide the speed that other operating systems do in the same hardware requirements and thus Microsoft lacks behind. However, when it comes to user-friendliness and compatibility of almost all the software that is available; there is no match for Microsoft windows. However, it is not an open-source operating system and thus it cannot be customized much, but, there is not much to be customized with the special features and wizards that actually help the user to get acquainted even if he has not used it before.

Coming on to the Mac OS, we see that it is faster in comparison to Microsoft Windows, it is fancy and it is reliable as well, however, its compatibility is more biased towards IBM and Apple manufactured computers. This is the reason why Macintosh systems are not widely used with other manufacturers and they also prescribe Windows for best results. As far as compatibility of the software is concerned, Microsoft and Apple have come to a compatibility treaty; however, there are still zillions of other software and applications which are not designed for Mac users. As far as businesses are concerned, businesses usually get their software’s by software houses and thus most of the engineers develop the software’s with respect to Windows as the basic operating systems as they are most used to it and have their expertise in it. Also, software development tools that most of the developers use are more compatible with Windows as well. therefore, as the weightage of compatibility is greater than the other factors, windows win the race from Mac OS along with other advantages that it brings as well (Stuart, 2008).

As far as Linux is concerned, we have already discussed that it is an open-ended operating system that allows the user maximum customization that can be done in order to work comfortably. With this feature, we also see that the operating system enjoys the status of being one of the fastest operating systems in terms of speed, however, it completely fails when we talk about compatibility with other software’s that are essential to actually work upon. one of the reasons that this is not suitable for smaller and medium-sized businesses is the fact that they will have to employ operators who actually have expertise in these types of operating systems and have the ability to use the language for their own use. Moreover, there are many software available that are similar to those which are compatible with Microsoft, but they are not actually the same. For example, Open Office is the substitute for Microsoft Office but there is a great difference between both the software. The user-friendliness, the graphics, the add-ons, everything is different and Microsoft Office holds the lead. Thus, Linux is not suitable for small and medium-sized businesses. However, it can be of help for large corporations where there are specialized engineers for the job and who have to design their own complex systems to cater to their needs.


As far as the features are concerned, first, we need to see what do we understand from features when we make them a criterion for selection. The features here as the ease of operating the operating system, the facilities that the operating system provides, the support services, online help, online software and hardware, online hardware and software solutions, after-sales services, easy online connectivity, and many other features that a consumer can think of. The purpose is to satisfy the consumer through these features and when we look at the market share of windows, we can infer that Microsoft comes with the most features than any other operating system.

Starting with Linux, we see that although it is a well-designed user-friendly operating system, it does not provide the ease with which a normal businessman with less computer knowledge can operate it. The reason is the fact that it does not actually come with pre installed features and applications to which the customer can rely on. But, all the softwares are available online, thus, the user has to spend time to actually look for them. There are system utilities available with Linux as well but they are not that sophisticated and advanced as it is in the case of the two competitors that it has in the market. However, those who know about programming and writing in computer language, Linux provides the maximum features for their ease in contrast to the other two (Hill, 2009).

Mac OS comes with all the features and functions that are available with the Microsoft Windows. Mac OS comes with all the system utilities and softwares that can satisfy the consumer who is using it. The interface of the Mac OS is not that much different from the Windows and thus the concept remains the same (Singh, 2006). The graphics, the utilities, internet connectivity, after sales services, software licensing, everything is available with Mac OS.

However, the question remains why is Windows the bestselling brand then, what more features does windows has? The answer is that after leading the market for so many decades, windows in now in a position to flood the market with every new feature that it comes with its own name. it floods the internet websites, it floods new version of its windows for example expansion packs, it floods e-mails, newsletters among its users and tells them that this is how we are different from the competitors. This is the latest feature that we have as compared to all others. the features are basically softwares and hardware compatibility. For example, when Microsoft launched XP, it gave an extra feature of movie maker with it, an extra feature was synchronizing a remote desktop and wireless connectivity. These are the features that others did not provide. And thus, even today Microsoft is playing the strategy of coming up with flood of new features with every release in order to push behind all the competitors from the competition (Mcfederies, 2009).


As far as hardware factor is concerned, none of the three operating systems come with specific hardware with their bundle, but they all have their own hardware compatibility requirements. Thus, hardware considerations are important.

Starting with Linux, we see that as Linux is a free operating system and yes it is compatible with all hardware manufacturers. Linux does not need heavy space on the hard drive, no heavy RAM requirements and no special requirements for the CPU even, but, the problem arises when special softwares are run or other external hardware are connected through the external softwares on Linux. The problem is hardware drivers incompatibility and driver clashes because of the fact that the hardware are designed to work in any windows, but, the drivers and the driving applications must be of some specific nature. This is one of the reasons that Linux is not held reliable for hardware solutions. Another problem is the fact that all other versions of operating systems come with the special drivers that allow hardware to run with the ease of plug and play, however, until and unless the operating system becomes popular in the hardware market, this facility cannot be availed by the Linux users until then (Hill, 2009).

As far as Microsoft windows and Mac OS are concerned, both of the two publishers have been there competing in the marketing since a very long time now and thus there products and services are also quite similar. They also have a treaty between the two companies for driver signing to run with both the versions of operating system and thus the compatibility issues are not that fierce and problematic in this case. All hardware and softwares that we see in the market have Microsoft and Mac OS written on them with their specific versions and this is not actually new, this is there since many years and decades that the both of the publishers are competing with each other.


As far as the security is concerned, we cannot say that a system is good or bad in terms of security, but it actually depends on the use of the system. The reason is the fact that all of the systems can be connected to the internet and most of the viruses and worms that can turn your system into a dinosaur come from the internet. However, it is a fact that these worms affect Windows and Mac users more then they effect Linux systems.

Linux systems are open ended software’s, but, the fact is that it does not allows any worm or an external software to change or access the system files. This actually prevents the worms to get into the system registries and folders in order to corrupt it. Moreover, there are not many worms that have been created as an attempt for Linux systems as well because the target users are very less in number and it does not also creates a huge effect (Hill, 2009). Thus, large companies and corporate love the Linux because of this feature as well. However, small and medium businesses cannot choose Linux over Mac OS or Windows just because of this. They have to forgo a lot of things and pay a larger price for the development of software’s and specific applications in order to handle the operating system and get their work done (Watson, 2008).

As far as Mac OS is concerned, it is as secure as windows because of the fact that worms can actually enter and access system files of both the operating systems. So there is no point of one being safer than the other. However, most of the worms and viruses that are designed are mostly designed for windows users because they are almost 90% of all the users and the impact of the worm is larger in case of windows (Singh, 2006). Thus, Mac users are comparatively safer then windows. this does not means that small and medium sized businesses should not get windows as their operating system, but if the put restrictions on the external data devices and access over the internet, then windows can be made as safe as a Macintosh or Linux system. For example, banks, they do not allow users to put in any external storage device except those users who have special authorization. Neither can all users access internet websites through the client systems in order to provide maximum security.

Recommended Operating System

Therefore, basing our results on the above discussion, it would be recommended that Windows seems to be a good option for businesses because accept for a few things, it is one of the most trusted and easy to use operating systems that are available. The business will not have to halt its operations just because of compatibility issues after every new update of software that is available or to install any new application for a new venture. Many softwares are available which can provide security services to windows and there are many ways with which risk of worms can be minimized. Also the back systems that available with the newer versions of Windows is also a great tool in order to retrieve all lost information and files in case of any accident or infection by a worm. Windows is free and the business package gets cheaper with the number of licenses that the business has to acquire therefore price is not an issue in comparison to Mac OS as both have the same price. Businesses have the ability to pay for software if it is investing heavy resources in its machines thus a free software is not always necessary. Also a business will eventually have to pay for customized software that it gets designed by a software developer as well (Ritchie, 2003).


This report is written from the point of view of a business and which is one of the reasons that it made its recommendation accordingly. However, although most of the Home PCs also use Windows operating system, still if we talk about speed and customization, most of the home users prefer windows over Linux and Mac because all the entertainment software, latest games and latest online applications are designed for windows rather than Linux. Applications and softwares that are designed for windows are more fancy, more interactive and more entertaining than others operating systems, therefore this explains why the operating system has the highest rank in the market share in the world.


Hill, B (2009). Official Ubuntu Book. Prentice Hall.

Holcombe, C (2002). Survey of Operating Systems. McGraw-Hill Osborne Media.

McFederies, P (2009). Microsoft Windows 7 Unleashed.Sams.

Ritchie, C (2003). Operating Systems: Incorporating UNIX and Windows. Continuum International Publishing.

Siberschatz, A (2008). Operating System Concepts. Wiley

Singh, A (2006). Mac OS X Internals: A Systems Approach. Addison – Wesley Professional.

Stuart, B (2008). Principles of Operating Systems: Design and Applications. Course Technology.

Watson, J (2008). A History Of Computer Operating Systems: Unix, Dos, Lisa, Macintosh, Windows, Linux. Nimble Books.

Yahoo (2009). Yahoo Shoping – Operating Systems. Web.

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