by Roger Kay

Windows vs. Linux vs. OS X: A Windows Expert Weighs In

Dec 01, 20062 mins
Operating Systems

John Halamka has hit on Microsoft’s biggest advantage: its dominance in the software industry. Windows’ universality in the corporate world is what makes it so sticky. Companies want their applications and documents to be compatible with those of their partners, suppliers, customers and colleagues. They also want their computers to be able to read files created 10 or 20 years ago. Microsoft offers such flexibility. It’s hard to replace a computing environment that provides that level of compatibility, even if it is bloated and buggy.

Further fueling Windows’ universality in the corporate world is, as Halamka points out, that so much new technology is developed to work with it. That’s because software developers are always after the most seats. When I worked for a software developer, we loved the Mac, but we built applications for Windows because we stood the greatest chance of making the most money.

I also share Halamka’s criticism of too much complexity in Microsoft software. One of my issues with Windows is how chatty it is. It’s always talking to you, telling you that your antivirus software needs to be updated, asking you if you want to try a program from a partner, telling you that your save function hasn’t been executed properly. Fortunately, you can shut off some of those features. My opinion is that all OSs tend toward bloat. The good news is that Vista, which I’ve been testing, dances quite agilely for a fat man.

I laud Halamka’s efforts to keep the software stack on his machine simple. That’s good discipline if you can manage it.

–Roger Kay is president of consultancy

Endpoint Technologies Associates.