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Linux, Mac OS X, Vista and XP: head-to-head

Operating systems at war - but who wins?

When it comes to an OS, what should you choose? Each of the four biggest players; Linux, Mac OS X, Windows Vista and Windows XP all have their merits. So we've taken four experts and asked them to defend their chosen operating systems in an opinionated free-for-all.

Mac security

Let me say it again: all Macs can run Windows and, consequently, all of the software that runs on Windows. All versions. At once, if you want to.

Did I mention that Leopard is a certified Unix product, too? Mac OS X is the only operating systems that can run all mainstream Windows and '*nix'-based operating systems and host '*nix' software natively, with few of the usual security risks.

Security

Along with its famed user interface, one of the keys to the success of Mac OS X is the lack of malware, spyware and self-propagating viruses. We can debate the reasons; whether it's the security inherent to the modern BSD underpinnings of Apple's code or the 'security by obscurity' theory, but Macs are not susceptible to the problems that have always plagued Windows PCs.

Let me put it in perspective: I have been working with Macs since 1993, and not a single second of downtime has been caused by a virus, spyware or malware. Think about that for a moment. Not a single second has been wasted dealing with security.

And ponder this: if 100,000 viruses or malware variations targeting OS X sprang up tomorrow, that number would still pale in comparison with the malware aimed at Windows every year.

Look, it's the 21st century. Computers are everywhere; shouldn't they just work by now? Who wants to spend their time running spyware scans and virus scans? (Imagine having to run a virus scan on a microwave or DVD player.) Just because folks who use other operating systems have to put up with it doesn't mean that's the way it has to be.

Mac OS X: bottom line

I want more from my computer, and Apple capitalises on its unique position as sole operating system designer, application developer, hardware engineer and media distributor, offering a seamless experience across its entire slate of product lines and services.

Macs may not 'just work' exactly 100 percent of the time, but they sure work when I need them to. And, after all, isn't that the point?

NEXT PAGE: Vista's tweakability and extras

  1. We put Linux, Mac OS X, Windows Vista and Windows XP: head-to-head
  2. Why Linux is best
  3. Linux: clean, friendly and powerful interfaces
  4. Apple's attention to detail
  5. The security features of Mac OS X
  6. Vista's tweakability and extras
  7. Why Vista beats other operating systems hands down
  8. XP's security features
  9. The bottom line when it comes to XP


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