January 18, 2003
Since my standards rant, I have been wondering about options in operating systems. If M$ does have a monopoly, as our government proved but did nothing about, then we wouldn't have a choice at all: it would be Windoze or nothing. However, luckily for us, choices do exist.
One thing that M$ has working to its advantage is the fact that many know little to nothing at all about their choices. For instance, the latest version of Red Hat Linux (8.0) offers an excellent desktop replacement for Windoze. It installs quicker, is more secure and reliable, and costs nothing because it is open source. Paul Andrews of the Seattle Times compares Linux with Windows XP today. While he still ranks Windoze higher for a couple of moot reasons, he contends that Linux “keeps getting better.” I have to agree.
When I first began using Linux, you had to know about the command line. Period. If you could not negotiate your way around Unix commmands, there was no way you would be able to even install a version of Linux. Thanks to companies like Red Hat, installation and configuration are a breeze with GUI interfaces and intuitive choices. Chances are good that any version of Linux you choose — some are more user-firendly than others — will run on your existing hardware. When people ask me these days, I have no hesitation in suggesting Linux to replace Windoze.
Another option is Mac OS X from Apple. On the downside, you have to buy a computer from Apple, but since Apple makes the hardware and the software, perpherals interact with the computer with no difficulty, and drivers are never a problem. There are numerous reasons why the Mac makes sense — more than I can go into here. Check out this article from Mac Speed Zone.
The best weapon we have against an M$ domination is knowledge. Choose the best platform for how you want to work. Period. But be sure you educate yourself before taking the plunge. Windoze is not the only way. Thank goodness.