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Which desktop is better: Windows or Linux?

Other than cost, what is the number one argument you'd use against a Windows proponent in a Linux versus Windows debate?
There really is no debate over which desktop to use, but rather which desktop meets the requirements of the user. Both Linux and Windows have their strengths. The key is functionality; Linux provides a plethora of functionality that is integrated by the distribution vendors into their releases. In addition to being functional, Linux is scalable and performs extremely well. What we'll continue to see in the coming year is two competing workstation desktops but with the victor being the end user.

Dig Deeper on Windows applications

Mobile operating systems -- What's next? Should mobile operating systems follow the growth strategy of their desktop and notebook counterparts? There are risks inherent in that path.

I got my start in computing working on operating systems. I was fortunate enough to attend a college that had a mainframe (an IBM 360/67) that had an operating system (CP-67/CMS) that implemented virtual machines. It was relatively easy to develop bootable systems, and consequently it was a great learning environment. I later went on to design and develop a real-time operating system (OS) for a process control application (automating a sewage-treatment plant -- the scariest job I've ever had!) and working on the design of a multi-tasking OS for an early personal computer. Operating systems have the job of making the unreasonable environment of "bare metal" something that can support applications, and they include such common functions as task management, file management, exception handling, user interface, and networking support. Like everything else in computing, OSs only grow over time, and that complexity is especially troubling on handheld devices.

Which brings up an important question: Should your handheld device, whether PDA or simply a phone, even have an OS? Operating systems introduce the possibility of configuration errors, bugs (in both the OS itself and in the applications it runs), and viruses and other malware, along with the not-insignificant associated training and support costs.

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