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  • Linux
  • Windows
  • OS X
Installing the OS
  • It works, most of the time, with most hardware.
  • It works, almost all the time, with all supported hardware.
  • It works, all the time, on Macs.
Look and Feel
  • Plasticky, with occasional glitches, but super fast
    • Programs that use GTK will have buttons and other controls that look like they came straight out of Windows 3.11
    • Many themes available: kde-looks.org
  • Nothing to write home about.
    • Third party themes are a pain to install.
  • It's the gold standard.
    • If anything, it may be a bit too much eye candy for some people.
    • Awesome attention to detail - Notice how dialog boxes have a glowing button and an outlined one? Pressing space bar activates the outlined one and pressing Enter activates the glowing one.
Application Availability
  • Not that good, since most companies don't develop open source software, but nearly everything is free.
  • Super Good. It's ubiquitous, so it makes sense that it has the most application support.
  • OK. Everything you need is there, except games.
Application Installation
  • Easy
    • Use apt-get, or copy and paste some command line entries from the package maintainer's site.
  • Easier
    • Double click the install.exe
  • Easiest
    • Drag to Applications folder
Perceived Application Quality
  • Good
    • considering it's all free stuff
    • Things can be crashy... Perhaps it's because the dynamic libraries they depend on are constantly changing.
  • Mostly Crap
    • Most of the programs that cost money aren't even as good as their open source counterparts (check out the multitude of CD-burning programs).
    • However, there are a small number of very high quality Windows-only apps... It's sort of a "long-tail" distribution.
  • Awesome
    • Super !!! 111 One One One 0xFFF !!!
      • Even dysfunctional apps appear to ooze with quality.
Consumer Hardware Utilization
  • Passable.
    • Most vendors don't provide open source drivers for their products, so people have to make new drivers, which, from my experience, either work flawlessly, or only provide the basics (3 out of 9 mouse buttons isn't too bad).
  • Awesome.
    • If it doesn't work on Windows, it probably won't sell that well...
  • Slick, as long as it's supported hardware. Otherwise, you're screwed.
    • Normally, when you install new hardware, you expect to configure it and step through some sort of install process On the Mac, you just plug it in and it automagically knows how you wanted it set up, (most of the time). So you can just use it.
Viruses and Spyware
  • I've been running without Antivirus for a few days and I haven't noticed any strange events. However, a good virus would hide its presence until called upon to perform its duty. I wonder how I would detect a virus before it's too late...
  • Not having both antivirus and antispyware scanning is blasphemy.
  • No antivirus, no antispyware, no problem. Again, I wouldn't know how to detect a virus if it somehow infected the system. Oh well.
Community Support
  • There are a lot of distros. Fortunately, I chose Kubuntu, which is (allegedly) a very user-friendly distro with a large following. Therefore, getting help was easy.
  • Highlight error. Paste it into Google. Instant support.
  • Large swaths of Mac users use the same hardware, and the software choices do not vary that much; so, even though the Mac-using population is small, the homogeneity of hardware and software configurations guarantees a sizeable support group.
    • Plus, there are sites like MacRumors and ThinkSecret that host forums that serve as secondary support groups.
  • Inspires one to hack.
    • since everything comes with source
  • Inspires one to try other OS's.
    • since it's old and crufty
  • Inspires one to create good-looking things.
    • since it's elegant