OS Smackdown: Linux vs. Mac OS X vs. Vista vs. XP

Four experts defend their chosen operating systems in an opinionated free-for-all

Since the dawn of time -- or, at least, the dawn of personal computers -- the holy wars over desktop operating systems have raged, with each faction proclaiming the unrivaled superiority of its chosen OS and the vile loathsomeness of all others.

No matter how fierce the language or convincing the arguments, however, these battles began to seem somewhat irrelevant to regular working stiffs. While Mac OS, OS/2, Linux and many other desktop operating systems have all had their devotees over the years, the truth is that the majority of home and business users have simply used the current version of Windows as a matter of course.

Windows Vista has changed all that. Never has a Microsoft operating system been greeted with such a lack of enthusiasm from consumers and businesses alike. Whether it's because of Vista's confusing array of versions, its hefty hardware requirements, its driver issues or its invasive security features, users are resisting the upgrade to Vista and considering other options, from Mac OS X to Linux to just sticking with Windows XP, thank you very much.

Suddenly, the OS wars have a new relevance.

That's why we've asked four US experts to lay out their best arguments in support of their desktop operating systems of choice:

  • James Turner for Linux

  • Michael DeAgonia for Mac OS X

  • Preston Gralla for Windows Vista

  • David Ramel for Windows XP

Each is positive that his operating system is the best and will try his hardest to convince you of that -- and is not above taking a few swipes at the competition. These are not rational, disengaged reviews; these are opinionated essays meant to sway your point of view.

-- Valerie Potter

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