Operating System Choices

Isn't everyone using Windows? Is there software for anything else?

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The short answer: No, Yes. We have a lot more to say on this subject in our article System & Network Software, and a good article on the subject can be found at CPM's Byte on-line magazine. Compelling reasons why people choose operating systems other than Windows are:
  • Cost: Windows is the most expensive computing environment because of its high support needs and incessant "upgrades".
  • Reliability: Windows is the only operating system that needs to be constantly rebooted.
  • Performance: Windows performance is never outstanding and often poor (except when Microsoft pays for the tests).
  • Security: Windows security ranges from none (Windows95/98) to some (Windows NT) to buggy (Windows 2000).
  • Usability: Windows is overly complex for most business tasks. It is designed for flash rather than substance.
  • Applications: Many applications do not run on Windows, or do not run effectively on Windows.
  • Multimedia: Windows can't dream of competing with BeOS for multimedia production.

Desktop Choices

OSUses
DOSFor Point Of Sale and other specialty apps.
Windows 3.1For current users with no compelling need to "upgrade".
Windows
95/98/Me
Runs all the popular business and entertainment software.
Windows NTRuns popular business software with better stability, security than 95/98.
Windows 2000Successor to NT for business use
Windows XPSuccessor to Windows 2000. The path to .NET
LinuxHigh performance, low cost, Internet and general business.
OS/2General and financial business, specialty apps, wherever "it has to work".
Apple MacIf you prefer living in a pre-planned, gated community with enforced architectural standards.

Server Choices

OSStrengthsWeaknesses
Novell NetWareStable, Fast fileserver, Secure
Designed for large enterprises
Only fair as applications server
Complex for small business
Windows NTEasy to get running, popular
Slow, unstable, expensive
Poor remote administration
Windows 2000More stable and secure than NT Very complex to install, administer
(with Active Directory)
Expensive, incompatible with standards.
LinuxStable, fast, inexpensive
great Internet features
Expertise needed for initial setup
xBSDStable, fast, inexpensive
best Internet features
Little known outside Internet circles
OS/2 Warp ServerEverything a server should be
Very strong e-Business features
IBM's dismal marketing.
Calera/SCO UnixStable, fast, feature rich
Many high-end enterprise features
Expensive (compared to Linux)
Complex (compared to NT)
IBM AS/40099.999% reliability, great support
Scalable from mon-and-pop to Microsoft
(Yes, Microsoft)
"You're running what?"

Software Choices

The whole point of computers is to run software that helps you do the job you need to (or think you need to) get done. With Windows, you know you can get software for just about anything, but what about those other operating systems? They have no applications, right?

Microsoft has done everything it could by both courting and threatening developers to starve other operating systems of software, but there actually is some, and some of it is pretty damned good. OS/2 packages like PMMail, ZOC, PMView and others are successfully invading the Windows market.

Here's a list, absolutely not comprehensive in any way, but typical of what people are running under different desktop operating systems.

BUSINESSWindowsLinuxOS/2
Office Suite Microsoft Office
Lotus SmartSuite
WordPerfect Office
StarOffice
Applix
Axene
WordPerfect Office
StarOffice

Lotus Smart Suite

StarOffice
Easy Word Processor

ClearLook
Spreadsheet (See Suites) Xess
Gnumetric
WingZ
XQuad
Mesa2
(And see Suites)
Contact Manager Act!
Gold Mine
Maximizer

Omnifile
Contact Connection
PIM (Personal
Information Mgr.)
Outlook
Relish
Omnifile
Groupware Exchange/Outlook
GroupWise
Lotus Notes
Bynari Lotus Notes
Accounting
(Small Business)
QuickBooks
Peachtree

In Charge!
any DOS package
Accounting
(Mid Business)
Great Plains
Real World
Appgen
DataPro
(Client to Linux
or Unix package)
Database
(Medium)
Access
CodeBase
FoxPro
MySQL
mSQL
Omnifile
CodeBase
Alaska XBase
MySQL
Database
(Enterprise)
Oracle
SQL Server
DB2
Oracle
Informix
PostgreSQL
DB2


DB2
File Encryption
(On the fly)

gpg
CryptStream
OCR Caere OmniPage
TextFlow
Voice Recognition IBM ViaVoice
Dragon
L&H
IBM Viavoice IBM VoiceType
Document Mgmt PageKeeper Pro
ScanShop
STi ReView
Desktop Publish Pagemaker
Quark
Ventura Publisher
Framemaker
Xclamation
Framemaker (beta)
Papyrus
Maul Publisher
Personal Finance Quicken
Microsoft Money
Moneydance
GnuCash
Moneydance
Electronic Teller
Moneydance
Project Mangement Primivara
Microsoft Project
Epiware
Tax Preparation Turbo Tax
TaxCut


INTERNET & COMWindowsLinuxOS/2
Internet Dialer Dialup Networking wvdial
diald
Injoy
SlipPM
Web Browser Internet Explorer
Netscape
Opera
Lynx

Netscape
Opera (beta)
Lynx
Links
Mozilla

Netscape
Opera (some day)
Lynx
Links
Mail Reader MS Outlook
Netscape
Eudora
PMMail
mutt
pine
Netscape

Netscape
MR/2 ICE
PMMail
Remote Control PC Anywhere
Co-Session
Netop

telnet
telnetPM
telnet
Netop
Internet Sharing
(Gateway)
Ishare IP Masq Injoy
Web Server IIS (NT only)
Apache (NT only)
Apache Apache
Modem & Serial Zoc Minicom Zoc
Desktop Fax WinFax Pro HylaFax PMfax Pro
Fax Server
HylaFax PMfax LAN
GRAPHICSWindowsLinuxOS/2
Graphics Viewer
Graphics Converter
PMView
LView
Electric Eyes PMView
Graphics Editing PhotoShop
Embelish
Corel Graphics
Corel PhotoPaint
Gimp Gimp
Embelish
Web Page Publishing Front Page Zope
HomePage Publisher
Webwriter/2
Papyrus
UTILITIESWindowsLinuxOS/2
Directory Mangement Windows Explorer
Ztree Bold
FC/W


Ztree Bold
Filecommander/2
Disk Defragment Defrag (95/98 incl)
Disk Keeper (NT)
(rarely needed) GamaTech
(rarely needed)
Tape Backup Backup Exec
NovaBack
bru
tar
cpio
Back Again/2
NovaBack
BackMaster

©:Andrew Grygus - Automation Access
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