Comparison of Linux, Mac, and Windows

This table is a list of what you get for each operating system without any additional software or purchases made. For “Linux”, I’m using openSUSE, although other Linux distributions are basically the same in regards to this table. I attempted to write this table in such a way that the average user should understand it (if they look at the glossary and footnotes).

MacOS X Windows 7 Home Premium
Kernel [a] Linux Mach (BSD) ?
Hardware compatibility A lot All [1] Very little [2]
Symmetric Multiprocessing [b] Yes Yes Poor
FTP Server [c] Yes Yes No
FTP Client Yes Not really [3] Yes
SSH Server [d] Yes Yes No
SSH Client Yes Yes No
SFTP Server [e] Yes Yes No
SFTP Client Yes Not really [4] No
VNC Server [f] Yes Yes No
VNC Client Yes Yes No
Web Server [g] Yes Yes No
X Windowing [h] Yes Yes No
Command-line interface [i] Yes Yes Limited
Simultaneous logins [j] Yes No No
Included software A lot Plenty Very little
One-stop software repositories Yes Somewhat No
Compilers included [k] Yes Yes No
Office suite included [l] Yes No No
Cost Free $169.00 $199.99
Hard drive space needed [m] 500 MB – 3 GB 5 GB 16 GB – 20 GB [5]
RAM needed 256 MB – 512 MB 1 GB 1 GB – 2 GB
Average technical skills of users Experts Above average Clueless
Malware resistance [n] Inherent Inherent No
Firewall [o] Yes Yes Limited
Digital Restrictions Management [p] None Some Everywhere

Very Basic Glossary
[a] The Kernel is the part of the operating system that talks directly to the main hardware.
[b] SMP refers to how the operating system makes sure multiple processors are used efficiently.
[c] FTP is a method for downloading and uploading files to and from your computer.
[d] SSH is a very secure method for access your computer’s command-line interface from other computers.
[e] SFTP is a very secure method for downloading and uploading files to and from your computer. It is based on SSH.
[f] VNC is a method for accessing the keyboard, mouse, and screen of your computer from other computers.
[g] A web server allows your computer to put websites and files up on the World Wide Web to be accessed with a web browser.
[h] X Windowing is the method most Unix systems use to display graphical interfaces.
[i] The command line interface is how you send basic text commands to your computer. You might think of MS-DOS as an example.
[j] Some operating systems allow you to remotely login to your computer without interfering with others who may be logged in already.
[k] Compilers allow computer users to write their own programs. This is one of the most basic features of an operating system.
[l] Office suite: Word processor, spreadsheets, presentations, etc.
[m] 1024 MB = 1 GB
[n] Malware refers to viruses, trojans, worms, spyware, etc. A decently designed operating system should inherently be resistant to malware.
[o] A firewall protects your computer from unauthorized access to your computer from the Internet.
[p] DRM is actually (Digital Rights Management). Basically is your operating system making decisions as to what you should and should not be doing, taking control and ownership of the computer away from the user.

[1] Apple chooses its hardware specifically, and writes hardware compatibility specific for that hardware. This is why you can’t buy MacOS X for your PC.
[2] Without drivers from hardware manufacturers, Windows can’t really do anything.
[3] “Connect to Server” for FTP is read-only. Command-line is needed to write.
[4] “Connect to Server” has no SFTP support. Command-line is needed for SFTP.
[5] For an operating system that includes so little, it sure is big!

The gamers’ argument

Gamers are the cockroaches of the computing society. Gamers are the worst computer users to deal with because they actually think they know things when they really don’t. One of the most prevalent argument for using Windows is that “Linux and Mac can’t play games”. There is no technical reason why Linux and Mac can’t play games. In fact, especially in the case of Mac, since the operating system is written specifically for the hardware, they are actually better suited to “play games” than Windows is. Linux and Mac “can’t play games” because game developers don’t write their games for Linux and Mac. That said, the games on Linux and Mac run beautifully with half the hardware capabilities needed. However, the best games are on dedicated hardware, like the Wii, etc.

One Reply to “Comparison of Linux, Mac, and Windows”

  1. Right on man, you took most words right out of my mouth, no way any windows user can defend himself now. Only gamers <_<, you're so right about them.

    Definitely re-tweeting this!


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