I wrote this for the Operating Systems forum... but it was good stuff. So, I decided to share it with you guys as well. The topic was "Open Source Software".
This has been a good discussion. I think we’ve hit on all of the major issues. Open Source software allows the source code to be freely distributed, updated, and re-distributed. This is true for some software and some OS’s.
The plus side includes the price (free or much cheaper than Microsoft). Another big plus is stability. Versions of UNIX and Linux are running on the greater percentage of servers, which are on the Internet. They just work. They do their job and the “blue screen of death” is unheard of.
Virus protection has been mentioned as a minus for Open Source. I am reminded of a childhood joke. “Where does the 800 pound gorilla sleep? Anywhere he wants to.” Well, Microsoft is the 800 pound gorilla. The only problem with being an 800 pound gorilla is all the little monkeys like to throw rocks at you. What I’m saying is that because Microsoft owns about 90% of the OS market, people have this love/hate relationship with them. They use Microsoft but they hate Microsoft. I have seen web sites dedicated to Bill Gates being the Anti-Christ and one of the signs of the Apocalypse. I’m not sure what Bill has done to bring this level of hatred but this is an example of the extreme attitudes that some people have. Anyway, what I’m saying is that because of this love/hate relationship, people write viruses aimed at Microsoft products. This is not so with Unix/Linux. It is not necessarily true that these are “below the radar” and if they were more popular, they would be targeted more often. The reason is that UNIX has been virtually the same for nearly 35 years (since the early 1970’s). Imagine if Microsoft had stayed with, basically, the same operating system with only limited updates. Then, you would have a stable OS that just works and all of the bugs would have been worked out by now… which is what the UNIX/Linux is.
That's easy. Have you ever been bopping along on a Windows machine and suddenly you get one of those cryptic dialog boxes that pop up and say something like "WIN32^%$*W(%$W(%*$(_%*$(_%*(_$ caused a fatal unknown clusterbomb nuclear meltdown in sector fazznutborfbling...Windows will now shut down"? Blue screen of death? Or the fact that the computer must be rebooted umpteen billion times any time there's a software or hardware addition? Or you end a program and a dialog box appears that asks "Are You Sure?" What...are you second guessing me? Hell yeah I'm sure! End the freakin' program! (to be fair that can be a particular software maker that does this, but Window is not guiltless).
I have seen web sites dedicated to Bill Gates being the Anti-Christ and one of the signs of the Apocalypse. I’m not sure what Bill has done to bring this level of hatred...
And I'm sure others will chime in with their gripes...
Admittedly, being that I'm both a Mac user and a Windows user, there's ups and downs to each OS. Overall, given an either/or choice, I'd go with Mac.
Building Physics Rule #1: Hot flows to cold.
Building Physics Rule #2: Higher air pressure moves toward lower air pressure
Building Physics Rule #3: Higher moisture concentration moves toward lower moisture concentration.
I always liked the recovery process during the setup and when you get through all of the crap it tells you Sorry Windows could not recover. I usually just re-install the C:/ drive twice a year for fun!
Open office is worth a try
Open Office is a great deal. It's nearly a clone of Microsoft Office, but it's free, easily downloaded and actually works. It sure beats the $400+ for Microsoft or Corel progams.
I have Linux Redhat installed on one of my computers just to play with. As I gain more confidence with it and as more stuff is available for non-computer-geek types I use it more often. It's really bullet-proff with respect to security and never crashes.