Seven Client OSes That Could Replace Windows

 
 
By eWEEK Labs  |  Posted 2008-08-13
 
 
 

Seven Client OSes That Could Replace Windows

Microsoft's Windows is the undisputed king of the desktop, and, for a long time now, it's seemed as though Windows would reign forever more. However, with customer uptake of Vista still limp-

Seven Client OSes That Could Replace Windows

Seven Client OSes That Could Replace Windows - Mac OS X

1. Mac OS X
In terms of application support, functionality, packaging and overall mind share, Apple's OS X poses the greatest threat to continued Windows dominance. The biggest roadblock to OS X's ascendancy is Apple itself. The company restricts its innovative OS from running on non-Apple hardware, which means that unless Apple manages to put most OEMs out of business, OS X will always be a niche player.

Seven Client OSes That Could Replace Windows - Mac OS X

Seven Client OSes That Could Replace Windows - Linux

2. Linux
In contrast to OS X, Linux-based operating systems run on just about every processor architecture and hardware platform under the sun. What's more, Linux benefits from an active and growing developer community that has managed to assemble a variety of compelling desktop options. With that said, Linux trails Windows and OS X in desktop application support, as well as in hardware certifications and preload deals. The wide variety of desktop Linux incarnations makes it difficult for ISVs and IHVs (independent hardware vendors) to close these application support gaps.

Seven Client OSes That Could Replace Windows - Linux

Seven Client OSes That Could Replace Windows - Solaris/OpenSolaris

3. Solaris/OpenSolaris
Solaris, Linux's more introverted elder sibling, has been coming out of its shell during the past few years. Sun's embrace of the x86 architecture and of most of the same open-source desktop environment software that graces Linux-

Seven Client OSes That Could Replace Windows - Solaris/OpenSolaris

Seven Client OSes That Could Replace Windows - FreeBSD

4. FreeBSD
Like Solaris, FreeBSD benefits from access to most of the same software that powers the Linux desktop and, if you're so inclined, can today be used as a client operating system. BSD licensing is more liberal than that which governs Linux, which is beneficial for makers of proprietary platforms. For instance, FreeBSD makes up part of Apple's OS X core, and this behind-the-scenes OS X inclusion is probably the most prominence that FreeBSD will end up enjoying.

Seven Client OSes That Could Replace Windows - FreeBSD

Seven Client OSes That Could Replace Windows - Midori

5. Midori
Extending further into the category of way-out Windows replacement options, we have Midori, the recently reported, someday, perhaps successor to Microsoft's Windows. Midori is said to be an outgrowth of Microsoft's managed code research project operating system, Singularity.

Seven Client OSes That Could Replace Windows - Midori

Seven Client OSes That Could Replace Windows - iPhone OS/Symbian/Android

6. iPhone OS/Symbian/Android
The desktop OS that ends up replacing Windows may not be a desktop OS at all. Perhaps today's hottest client OS arena is the mobile device space. Google is preparing to release its Linux- and Java-based mobile operating system, Android, and Nokia has recently announced plans to turn its Symbian mobile OS into an open-source project. Meanwhile, Apple's iPhone and iPod Touch devices have made available to mobile application developers the most compelling hardware/software platform combination I've tested. The trick for these devices will be figuring out how best to dock with full-size displays and input devices when it's time to do more than read a document or fire off a quick message.

Seven Client OSes That Could Replace Windows - iPhone OS/Symbian/Android

Seven Client OSes That Could Replace Windows - The Revenge of Netscape

7. The Revenge of Netscape
Microsoft was worried that the OS of the future could be the Web, and it may be correct. The client system that ends up displacing Windows might be no OS and every OS. The emergence of Web-based services and open standards may well make for a future in which users of all the systems I've mentioned-

Seven Client OSes That Could Replace Windows - The Revenge of Netscape

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