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The Operating System Wars

(Last updated 2005-11-08)

Do you get the feeling Microsoft and Intel is in a partnership? "You rub my back and I'll rub yours deal." Microsoft agrees to always make sure to have an operating system that forces us poor users to constantly upgrade new hardware every 6 months. Intel delays the release of their latest technology allowing Microsoft to think of more ways to hog your CPU and hard drive.

Why are our little Pentiums still running on 32-bit technology, when DEC (now owned by HP) has had a 64-bit chip running for years already? Heck the newest Graphics cards are using 128-bit technology already!

Update The major problem with 32-bit technology is the 4 Gigabyte memory barrier. The need for memory has greatly increased, buying memory is cheap now days, so we are at the point where this barrier is reached. Windows XP is a 32 bit operating system that means you are stuck with 4 gigs maximum memory. Want more memory - you will be forced to buy Windows Vista (aka Longhorn). As they say in Afrikaans - "Haal uit en wys!". (take out and show the money). Linux on the other hand has been 64bit ready for years and it is still free.

Why is it that all the software you buy these days is so massive? Often software often spans multiple CD’s! My 10Gig I bought a few months ago is already showing signs of choking!

Well we all know the answer. Money!

Micro$oft and Intel want to make as much money out of us suckers, as often as possible, and for as long as possible.

Luckily we do not have to be forced into to this exploitation! AMD, Linux and others are coming to the rescue!

I am so glad little AMD has beat Intel in putting the first 1G chip on the market. Viva AMD!!

I have recently started investigating alternative operating systems. There is really only one other option as far as the Intel architecture is concerned and that is Linux.

Linux originates from old Unix systems. I have Ubuntu Linux running on my PC and I am very impressed. There are small issues mainly to do with the hardware.

A comparison chart I set up (Last updated 2005-11-08)

  Windows XP Linux
Startup Speed XP starts up quicker -
Speed + Linux is slighty slower starting up programs
Ease of Use + Linux is easier in many ways
Hardware Support + Linux is just about there.
Software Support +  
Software Installation + Installing the latest programs is sometimes a pain.
Affordability Far too expensive for Africa Free if know where to look.
Comercial Games + -
Free Games - +
Server Applications   +
Supported platforms you are stuck with Intel + runs on anything
Multimedia applications + wma's are better than mp3's or oggs at lower quality levels Hey I do not want low quality sound anyway
Office applications Only millionares can afford Microsoft Office Open Office is the way to go
Twiddle value   - You can tune anything if (only) you know where to look.
Disk size - -
Propriety yes no
Security -- ++ inherently more secure by design - no viruses!

Conclusion
A Capitalistic society needs competition, so if you are ever unsure of what to buy (or who to vote for) go for the second biggest name. If you do this you will be voting for more fierce competition which eventually translates to better prices for us.