The majority of students know about UNIX. As Tyre puts it, it is the “traditional computing platform of the academia” (8). UNIX can be used for a variety of purposes, much like other computer systems, which is why it is common in academic organisations, government departments, banks, companies, websites, and colleges (Williams and Sawyer 150). The usability of UNIX depends on its multitasking operating system, according to Williams and Sawyer. His software is made innately networkable and can “run on all kinds of computers” (150). Much like the more common Macintosh operating system or Microsoft Windows, UNIX is an operating system (OS). Basically, it functions as other OS’s-it knowledge processes, warehouses, and transfers. Perhaps the explanation why UNIX is no longer so common these days is that it was created a long time ago: the network infrastructure that rendered computers a virtual companion to everyday life in 1969, years before the development of the Internet. It was created that year when a group of programmers from Bell Labs decided they wanted a smooth, easy-to-use, and scalable OS (Wagner 8). UNIX is important in the history of information technology since it was used by internet pioneers to build a communication mechanism (Williams and Sawyer 150). Williams and Sawyer notice that many UNIX systems have been developed. Solaris (from Sun Microsystem) and BSD (from the University of California, Berkeley) are among them (150).
DOS is also affectionately regarded as the old-timer” (Williams and Sawyer 147). DOS, which stands for disk operating system, was initially developed by Microsoft in 1982. While it is hard to use the success of Microsoft machines has rendered it a common operating system (Williams and Sawyer 147). “Before Windows, DOS was the primary operating system for Microsoft (“What is DOS?”). Its gradual fall in prominence after the advent of Windows can be due to its multitasking ease and incapacity. However, it is already present in the latest Windows operating systems and can be used both for device and hardware control.
Until it became insignificant to desktop computing, MS-DOS was a popular OS (though some argue that it is, technically, not an OS). There were 17 iterations in total, the last of which was released in 1997 as MS-DOS 71 (“MS-DOS History”). Users can execute a variety of programming functions by entering commands in the Windows OS MS-DOS command prompt. These commands include comp, for file comparison; deltree, for file or directory deletion; format, for disc drive deletion and reformatting; and undelete, for deletion of a file that has just been removed. These are just among the many commands that can be performed in the computer using MS-DOS. Users should note though that this OS can only carry one command at a time.
As mentioned earlier, multiple applications have been built from Unix. Among them is Linux. The OS is named after its first developer, Linus Torvalds, who began developing it while still a student (Williams and Sawyer 150). Haas notes that the name was developed by combining Linus and Unix. The Linux known to many is not the same one developed by Torvalds. The Linux most people know is developed by a joint effort from programmers all over the world. It is downloadable from the Web and programmers are given the freedom by its creator to modify and improve it. They are free to distribute it but they are not allowed to charge for it.
Since Linux was developed by programmers through the Internet, it is more reliable than Windows when it comes to handling Internet applications (Haas). Also, being made for the Internet makes Linux a more secure OS than Windows (Matt et al.). Linux, however, is not that easy to operate. Its basic functions can be used easily but those who want to utilize its advanced features need to study it further. Its user interface is also more complicated than that of Windows’ (Matt et al.).
The term is an African word which loosely translates in English as “humanity to others” (Thomas, Channelle, and Sicam 21). It was first introduce in 2004 by an African entrepreneur Michael Shuttleworth who is an advocate of open source software. This operating system can be downloaded from its official website for free. Ubuntu is developed to be as free as Linux but less complicated than it by far. According to Shuttleworth, Ubuntu is more appealing than Linux because it is very user-friendly and has a visually appealing interface (qtd. in Srikanth).
Installation is among the disadvantages of Ubuntu. Most computers are pre-installed with either a Windows or Macintosh OS. Those who want to use the OS will have to install it themselves (Haddon), which can be a problem for those who are still starting up with computers. It may also be incompatible with a number of software and hardware.
Macintosh, or “Mac” as it is more popularly called, is an operating system built exclusively for Apple computers (Reinhold 23). The latest version of it is “Mac OS X Snow Leopard.” Its official website boasts of its eye candy graphics, 3-D desktop icons, and a very accessible system. It is part of the Mac OS X (“ten”) series which was first launched in 2001. Williams and Sawyer attribute the stylish designs to Mac to Apple chairman Steve Jobs, who has previously run Pixar Studios (147). Like Ubuntu, Mac basically developed from Linux (“Benefits”). This makes Mac possess all the advantages Linux has without its complicacy—among them, security. The OS does not allow “accidental” system configurations, making it difficult for viruses to manipulate the system. The greatest advantage of Mac comes to its ease of use. Mac operating systems do not cause troubles. Additionally, they do not cause as much problems as PCs do. Compatibility and price remain the greatest challenge for Mac users.
Server OS’s are developed to process tasks needed for networks. Since servers handle many computers (networks), they need to have more advanced features and bigger memory storage than most operating systems. They are mostly used in businesses because of their superior storage and capability to manage networks. Windows Server 2008 is an OS that can be used to run a server. It has several editions, each one tailored to meet different network functions. The Standard Edition, for instance, can work with up to four processors and can accommodate RAM of four gigabytes. For small to medium-sized enterprises, it is used.On the other hand, its more advanced counterpart, Windows Server 2008 Enterprise Edition, is used for bigger businesses. It can accommodate 44 gigabytes of RAM and can run as many as eight processors.
Networks can become too big to be accommodated using an ordinary PC OS. That is why OS’s like Windows Server 2008 were developed. This server allows IT professionals “greater control and management over server and network infrastructure” (Tittel and Korelc 12). Since Windows OS were noted for their internal troubles and operation failures, developers of Server 2008 made several modifications to make it function more smoothly. They built it with greater security features, a self-healing NTFS (allows users to use the OS even if it is having file-related issues), and a system called SMB2, which allows better handling of huge workloads.
A lot of expectations came ahead of Windows Vista. However, PC users were disappointed as soon as they had the OS installed. As Francia notes, Vista is criticized for performing poorly, being unreliable, and being incompatible with a long list of software and hardware. To make up for a bad OS, Microsoft released Windows 7. Critics agree that Windows 7 is a far better OS than Vista (CNET). It is more reliable, has greater compatibility with hardware and software, and functions way more smoothly than Vista.
To top its performance, the OS can easily be personalized to suit its user’s taste. Themes, for instance, can be made by users themselves, aside from those already available with the OS. Hughes notes that the installation is very easy for Windows 7. Asked whether there are disadvantages to it, he writes “not really.” Some tech experts warn, however, that Windows 7 upgrade can be very expensive and yet it performs poorly compared to Mac’s Snow Leopard (Chen).
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- Chen, Brian. “7 Reasons to Avoid Windows 7.” Gadget Lab. Wired, 20 Aug. 2009. Web. 07 June 2010. <http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2009/08/ 7-reasons-to-avoid-windows-7/>.
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- Reinhold, Arnold. Switching to a Mac for Dummies. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2009. Print.
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- Thomas, Kier, Andy Channelle, and Jaime Sicam. Beginning Ubuntu Linux. New York, NY: Apress, 2009. Print.
- Tittel, Ed, and Justin Korelc. Windows Server 2008 for Dummies. Indianapolis, IN: Wiley, Print.
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