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Operating Systems - The choice is yours

'Windows Everywhere' is one of Microsoft's objectives. They say that by everyone using the same computing environment it'll make it easier for people to use computers and easier to support systems but in reality whatever you think of Windows it certainly isn't ideal and won't suit everyone. Just like cars, TV's or any other product people like to have a choice because one brand doesn't suit all. But in the computing world Bill Gates (the CEO of Microsoft and one of the richest men in the world) considers that the only way ahead is through Windows and uses his market dominace to pressurise PC manufacturers to only offer Windows as an option and not to offer the customer other alternatives such as Linux or OS/2. In fact throughout the history of Microsoft there has been examples of them using their dominance to force out a competitor. This has made Microsoft a near monopoly which has to be stopped and if it isn't stopped Microsoft will be in a dominant position and will have control over the industry and as you know a monopoly is a bad thing as it is competition that keeps the prices down.

Look at these examples:
In the early days of PC's Microsoft tied the manufacturers into a deal that meant that they had to pay for a MS-DOS licence for each machine they sold even if the customer didn't want MS-DOS on it. This meant companies often didn't bother offering alternative Operating Systems because they'd have to pay for MS-DOS anyway. Even if they'd only want to supply a few machines with MS-DOS Microsoft wouldn't allow them to licence it unless they paid for licences for all the machines they sold. This practice is now outlawed but most of the damage has already been done

OS/2 was meant to have been a joint venture between IBM and Microsoft but in reality Microsoft were working on developing Windows. Microsoft's official view on OS/2 at the time was that it was the future of Operating Systems, this made other software companies develop for OS/2 but infact Microsoft were secretly developing for Windows. Because of Microsoft's licensing agreements mentioned earlier they ensured that OS/2 wasn't a success because the suppliers had to pay for an MS-DOS/Windows licence even if they wanted to install OS/2 instead. People weren't willing to pay for an Operating System that they didn't use so they sticked with the MS-DOS/Windows combination. This was bad news for IBM as they thought Microsoft was supporting them and also bad news for the software companies that developed applications for OS/2 and not for Windows. The companies that survived that blow took a while to recover as Microsoft had got a head start on Windows.

Digital Research released an MS-DOS compatible operating system called DR-DOS. It could run most MS-DOS programs (including Windows) and was more stable, had more features and performed better than Microsoft's MS-DOS. Microsoft were worried about losing sales to Digital Research and so in their next release of Windows (3.1) they introduced a bug that meant Windows wouldn't install if you were using a non Microsoft DOS (i.e. DR-DOS). The installer claimed that Windows wouldn't work with a non-Microsoft operating system but Digital Reasearch later proved that there was no technical reason that DR-DOS wouldn't work with Windows 3.1 and produced a work around to solve the problem. But they had lost ground since then and the final nail in the coffin was when Microsoft 'integrated' DOS with Windows in Windows 95 - this meant there was no need to buy DOS separately anymore. Caldera has since bought the rights to DR-DOS for people who still need to use a DOS based solution. It performs better than MS-DOS and now works with Windows 3.1 (actually starts up Windows faster than MS-DOS) so if you need DOS stll give it a try.


Despite Microsoft's efforts listed above they're still a few choices available to you. Most popular for people with PC's is the Linux Operating System. It offers all the power of a UNIX system and is available free off the Internet or you can buy a boxed set complete with support and installation instructions. If you'd like to find out more about Linux why not check out:
Linux Online
RedHat Software
SuSE Linux
Caldera - they make both Linux and DOS!
The Linux Emporium - UK Linux supplier
The LinuxMall - suppliers of Linux software worldwide

If you don't already own a PC you may want to consider purchasing a Mac instead. The Apple Mac has an intuitive interface that is better designed than the Windows interface. A Mac is an ideal machine for anyone who likes well designed graphical user interfaces. It doesn't offer the power of Linux but it is easier to use and has more applications available for it.

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Previously on antiMicrosoft:
Windoze 95 - Why Windows 95 is a bad choice
The Original antiMicrosoft Guestbook - or view our current guestbook.

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