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Comparing operating systems is daft

For quite a number of years, the industry, media and bloggers have compared operating systems to see which is the best. Cute idea, but daft non-the-less. For this post I will take computer and mobile operating systems into account.

Why Mac OS does not compare to Windows, and why Linux does not compare to Mac OS

From the time of the niche Mac OS 9, to the rise of Mac OS 10, people have been comparing it with Windows. Why, have I always asked myself. It would be the same as comparing a 18 wheeler with a brick. Sure they both have weight, but they do it differently. The only thing they share is that they offer a way to use the hardware in your computer to actually do things. Windows is a consumer product that tries to deliver to a very broad audience. Until recently they only provided the software, and what was needed for average Joe to connect whatever he bought at his local store to work. Windows had always had a rumor for crashing and providing the famous BSOD (Blue Screen Of Death). Why they were there to begin with, was because of a choice to provide their product to everybody. Mac OS is an entirely different story. They control everything from hardware to software, and therefore do not have to take into account 3rd party drivers. That would be a slight modified truth. They do have to support all sorts of printers, but because of the way the system is set up, it is much easier to get away with a generic driver, where as Windows has a tendency of failing with generic drivers. The way Mac OS is setup is entirely different than Windows, by design. If you refrain from downloading software from unknown people on the internet, then the system defaults to gaining software from the App Store. There developers have to abide by strict rules for the software to be approved. For starters the software has to function in a sand boxed environment. Second, they have to abide by behavior rules and what the software can and can not do. All of that is in the name of security, which is admirable, but leaves gaps in how the system can be used. That's where Windows is strong. You can do pretty much whatever you want. You can make software that rely of 3rd party frameworks, that pretty much just installs with minimum notification. That is however where it is a liability. Having that open behavior also paves way for virus, malware etc. Mac OS can get malware as well... but that is contained in the sand boxes in the user space. Speaking of 3rd party frameworks and the likes, that is why Windows has a greater variety of games and software. It allows the user much more, but if you don't know what you are doing or do not need it, then that is why Macs are selling like warm apple pie. Then you have the 3rd flavor, which should be the winner, but isn't because it's hard to accomplish anything for the average user... Linux.

Why iOS does not compare to Android, and why Windows Mobile does not compare to iOS
Every time a new mobile phone comes out, all the major technology websites are very fast to compare them to the "competition". I shake my head with a smile every time the new iPhone gets compared to the latest Samsung Galaxy phone. Ways they are comparable: mobile phone abilities and app expandability. The comparing often leaves out the fact that Android flag ships often has SoC that performs almost twice as fast... on paper. Apple are hard to get information out of, because how do you compare "80% times faster than the previous A chip"? What meassurement have they used? Apples? Bananas? Who cares! It does not matter. What system is running on Apple phones? iOS. Is it running Android? For the most parts, no. That's why it makes as much sense to compare Android with iOS and Windows Phone to iOS. It is how they were designed. Android was designed the be an open system, where as iOS was designed to be as safe and secure as possible on a kernel level. That is why it feels restricted. But then, what about Microsofts Windows Phone? The old days of Windows Mobile 6, are long gone, and with the release of version 7, came what was the beginning of continuum (Link to Microsoft). Microsoft has a noble goal, and that is to make everything you have in your hand, where Microsoft provides the software, familiar. No matter what Windows device you have used. That is a noble goal, but with every release feels futile. The idea feels like the first time automotive manufactors decided to put vinyl players in their cars. It worked in the living room, just not on the go. Here it's the other way around. Full screen apps makes good sense on handheld 5" devices, just not on a Full HD or 4K monitor.

aolwindows.jpg

Microsoft intended the system for being the ultimate assistant to Windows. The low sale figures might suggest that the need for such a thing is not desired, or the others do it just as well or better.

So, what's my point? My point is, that you can not compare systems that have designed for 3 different jobs, on the same meassurements. Sure, are we talking about voice call quality, sure. How well the Wi-Fi chip works, great! But if people start to talk about that the iPhone only has 1GB of RAM, while Android are touching 3 and 4, with a 6GB version in the design phase, then the conversation has failed. iOS does not need as much memory as Android, because Apple controls everything. It controls how the software engages with the hardware, it controls how apps behave once they are on the phone. Android to a certain extend, doesn't. One could argue that Windows Phone has borrowed the control aspect from Apple. Since you can't really install packages that are not on the Windows Store.


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