Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Operating Systems and Useability

[Disclaimer: I make a lot of sweeping generalizations on this blog article]
I always like the debate about operating systems, especially when the discussion revolves around security. On one side you have the Macs which run a modified version of Unix, Darwin OS, on the other side you have the Windows folks, and then there are the Linux(just a kernel) and Unix guys, while I can not cover each OS here comprehensively I will just try to highlight some really interesting observations about Linux.

The reason, I was reading this:
http://www.ubuntugeek.com/is-ubuntu-ready-for-a-non-tech-savvy-girlfriend.html and this &

While the document seems to primarily focus on a specific Linux distro: Ubuntu, I beg to differ and argue that any OS is easy to use dependent on what the user plans to use the OS for(useage or useability).

In most cases the average consumer or user, just wants to surf the web, check email, and watch some videos, with some word processing sprinkled in between. Any OS can probably perform this task with some minor exceptions, especially in light of the fact that Google seems to have noticed this. Google is planning to target audiences with Chrome OS later on in 2010, with the beta still available for download currently.Just by testing out the beta in a virtual machine, it seems Google is very smart in figuring out what consumers want and need, the OS is very simply in nature and not too complicated when compared to other Linux distro's.

It's also interesting to note that Wal-Mart is already shipping and selling their Everex PC for $130 and it runs the gOS (good operating system) another linux variant based on debian just like Ubuntu.

In addition OLPC (one laptop per child) is also making waves with their donations of laptops that run Linux to Africa and other countries that need them.

Nevertheless, the question remains, will this be enough to woo most customers to switch from the tried and trusted Windows-very user-centric OS with about 80% as the majority of it' s users to Linux?

Overall, I am impressed with the progress being made in terms of Linux and the coverage Linux is getting, hopefully this will mean more people using Linux.

In conclusion, most users use will use what is simple and works compared to whats complex and secure, good case in point is Windows Vista which was built with security in mind, but the user just did not see that, another reason why I-phones and Macs are a plus with user's at the end of the day, usability and simplicity will always win customers over, and some people are really devoted to making good products.

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