There is currently a lot of concern that Microsoft is monopolizing key areas of the software industry, and seeking to leverage that monopoly to control or dominate many areas of electronic commerce and internet development. One way to deal with this is to avoid using Microsoft products, including the operating system itself. But even this isn't the only reason to consider alternative operating systems. Pretty much all of the systems listed below have many advantages over a Windows environment. Typical advantages are a more stable and fault tolerant system (far fewer crashes or system freezes), faster execution, easier maintenance, greater power, and a cooler graphical interface.
For discussion of efforts to get original equipment manufacturers of computers (OEMs) to offer PCs without Windows or with an alternative OS pre-installed, go here.
These are a few odds and ends regarding alternative operating systems.
Alternative Operating systmes
- This is command central (AFAIK) for the various "Windows Refund" efforts.
- See also the Mozzilla.Org Open Directory Project's page on Windows Refunds.
- Free Operating Systems.
- Linux Linux is rapidly improving as an OS for server and client uses. Once primarly an OS for geeks only, it now has good plug and play installation routines (that are getting better) and very nice graphic user interfaces. There are many Linux sites on the Internet.
- A good place for Linux news is Linux Today , Nicholas Petreley's Linux World, or the Linux Weekly News.
- To get a good idea of culture of the core Linux advocates, check out SlashDot.Org.
- One of the classic articles about the Linux development model is Eric Raymond's The Cathedral and the Bazaar.
- You might also look at Linux.Org, the Linux Mall, or Linuxpower.Org.
- Here is a interesting link from Apple.com regarding a Mac and MkLinux as a server.
- Among the must reads about Linux and the entire free software movement are the so-called "Halloween" documents. These are two Internal Microsoft memos that were leaked to Eric Raymond, and pubished on the web with Eric's annotations. Opensource.org has links to the Halloween documents and several news reports and commentary about the documents. The memos offer many good insights into the free software movement, as well as insights into Microsoft's plans to subvert open protocols and standards.
- FreeBSD is free version of Unix that is very similar to Linux. FreeBSD is used to run Yahoo, the biggest site on the Internet. You can get more info from http://www.freebsd.org.
- NetBSD. This is a cousin of FreeBSD, I think. Learn more from http://www.netbsd.org.
- OpenBSD. OpenBSD is a freely distributed version of BSD. More information about OpenBSD can be found at www.OpenBSD.org. Also note the project goals.
- Commercial Operating systems
- Sun Solaris. This unix operating system now runs on Intel and other x86 computers, and Sun now gives a free license for personal use.
- SCO UnixWare. SCO now offers free licenses for Uninware 7 and OpenServer Unix systems for personal, non-commercial use. SCO provides media kits from $19.95 to $49.00, which can be used on multiple computers>.
- Amiga. The old classic is its own company again with the Amiga OS Classic as well as some new multimedia offerings. http://www.amiga.com.
- BeOS. The Be Operating System (BeOS) was developed by Jean-Louis Gassée, the former president of Apple's product division. It is a powerful new OS that works particularly well with multimedia applications.
- MacOS. We were pretty disappointed when it was reported that Apple had killed Rhapsody, even before it was released. But apparently this isn't quite right, or something. Will Apple will release an OS for x86 machines or non Mac hardware?. For more information on this front, you might look at the Apple Enterprise web page or the Apple Developer Mac OS X Server page. You might also see the Rhapsody on Intel Advocacy web page. We were unhappy when Apple killed the clone licenses, but Apple supporters say it was necessary to protect the core Apple product lines' margins. We were unhappy when Apple withheld hardware specs from BeOS, but BeOS is probably better off doing it on non-Mac hardware platforms. We were surprised when the Microsoft investment in Apple was announced, with Apple's decision to feature Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser. But apparently Microsoft wouldn't port a good version of MS Office to the Mac unless Mac shipped MSIE. Here are some details of Microsoft's relationship with Apple. Or you can get the entire direct testimony of Apple executive Avadis Tevanian, Jr. which is pretty chilling.
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