A Comprehensive Guide to Computer Purchase: 03 - Windows, macOS, Linux, or Beyond?

This article is a transcript of a video that you can watch by clicking the thumbnail below. Hence, certain statements may not make sense in this text form, and watching the video instead is recommended.



At this point, we've begun to outline the type of computer that aligns with your requirements. However, this is merely the starting point, as there are still a few more major decision points left before we can get into the specifics of the machines themselves. Now is the time to decide what operating platform will you be using, as some choices have more influence over the rest of the process than others.

Windows Remains the De facto

Even if you’ve heard of computers once, it’s impossible to be unaware of Windows. Usually, the machines sold with (or made for) Windows are also capable of running other operating systems. If you know nothing about computers, it is often believed that getting a Windows machine is the least resistance path, but I’d say that may not always be true.

Apple’s macOS

Apple sells computers specifically designed to run its proprietary operating system, macOS. The hardware quality on these is known to be one of the best. It might appear that Apple computers are only for people of a certain higher position in society and that using one makes you look rich, neither of which I’ll disagree with entirely, but to me, these computers resemble an unmatched integration between the hardware and the software such that it all starts to appear as a single system. This is because that hardware is designed specifically for that operating system, and vice versa.

Linux and other UNIX-like OS

Linux isn’t an operating system, and without going into details, I’d simply say that there are hundreds of Linux distributions available, and pretty much all for free. If you have a question as to why someone would use Linux, I’d say it’s partly a matter of choice of the individual, and for the rest of the reasons, I’d rather keep it out of this video. Any computer built for Windows can run Linux, and some good manufacturers also sell machines with a Linux distribution pre-installed, while some only sell Linux computers.

There are other forms of Linux like ChromeOS from Google that runs on Chromebooks, there’s Android that if you do not know can also be run on computers, and then there are plenty of choices for UNIX and other UNIX-like operating systems.

Just as it is with Linux, you can run UNIX or UNIX-like operating systems on pretty much any computer being sold as a Windows machine.

Unusual OS on Hardware

There is a possibility of going against the convention as well. People who prefer regular computers and love macOS, do run it on hardware not made by Apple. On the other hand, you’d also occasionally hear about people running Linux on Apple MacBooks. So the conclusion is, though it’s usually better to plan your purchase according to the operating system you’re planning to use on the machine, things are possible if you decide to put some effort into going against the rule, and if that’s what you need, I’d say that’s worth it.