With the many types of operating systems available in the market a basic user of computer who is not too aware of the technical side of things can be bewildered when having to make decisions. If you settle for one thinking all operating systems are the same, you could be faced with difficulties if it doesn't meet your requirements. Unfortunately when this decision involves a business where computers are recognized as important tool to run the business, a wrong decision could delay and even bring down expected results from the business as a whole.
The most common for desktop use is the operating systems offered by Microsoft. They have a range of operating systems starting from MS-DOS to Windows95 and Windows NT. The advantage of using these operating systems is that there are a wide range of affordable application programs to use with them. Shortcomings are the lack of decent connectivity and interoperability. Windows95 and Windows NT have addressed the connectivity issue fairly well but these still lack in interoperability with other operating systems. This is to encourage users to stick to all Microsoft products, but limitations such as poor internet connectivity and low security may be expensive to sort out.
UNIX systems offer many advantages over Microsoft when it comes to connectivity. It offers excellent connectivity as it is the operating system of the internet and World Wide Web, which has always had to offer connectivity options. This is also a stable operating system with over 25 years of existence in the market as a reliable system. UNIX systems are scalable as UNIX technology has run on machines from basic to multi million value super computers. These systems also support multi tasking and multi users. Thus file, print and remote access servers can be implemented using any UNIX based system.
BSD Systems is an open UNIX like solution. It offers all UNIX capabilities but for two shortcomings. One, they diverge from the mainstream UNIX capabilities and two they run only on x86 processors. This is less desirable for general business solutions but is commonly used for dedicated systems like routers. Its long development history and connectivity capabilities make them outstanding in dedicated communications systems. Linux is another open UNIX solution. Linux is portable; it can grow with you and the future. Also it has additional connectivity capabilities like TCP/IP connectivity, Drivers for many serial, ISDN and frame relay controllers, Appletalk for Mac/Linux connectivity, SAMBA for Microsoft Windows/Linux connectivity, IPX protocol support for Novell Netware/Linux connectivity
Other common platforms are MacOS and Novell Netware. Mac was developed as a workstation and for specific applications like graphics. It doesn't support interoperability and is not suitable as a general solution. Novell Netware was designed to make up for poor connectivity of early Microsoft products.
Make a wise choice when selecting a OS, keeping in mind your current needs, interoperability, support for different platforms and maintainability.