War of the operating systems

This is gonna be a “rambling” kind of post.

I’ve had it. As a professional computer scientist, I’m sick of casual users fighting over “what operating system is the best”. Especially since most of them don’t even know half of them. It usually boils down between an argument between “Mac users” and “Windows users”. Sometimes, a lone linux user shows up and joins, but that means they throw more mud at each other, not less.

What bothers me most about this is that they mix up all kinds of aspects of this, I assume to camouflage their lack of knowledge. It quickly is about companies, “good” or “evil”, lifestyles (“being a hipster”) and what computers are supposed to be for.

Here’s the thing: A computer is just that: A machine that computes. Often it is described as a general purpose tool and that is mostly true. If something that can be described as a “problem” (be it weather prediction or just organising your grocery list) involves computing, there’s a high chance a “computer” can theoretically help you with it.

The operating system now  ist just a part of that machine. From a normal user’s point of view its job is to make the thing, well “more usable”. Chances are you don’t want to feed your computer instructions via a punchcard anymore.

Operating systems, as well as all their front-end stuff (which technically might not even be considered as part of the OS), have come a long way. Progress as well as mistakes were made. Are still made.

Chances are that every company doing computers (hard-, software, you name it) messes up sometimes. Or, if they’re long around, innovate. Actually, often this “innovation” involves looking back at what other have done and do it again, slightly different and with more money to invest.

Anyways, when someone is a fan of a given operating system, that typically means they got used to it. Seriously, I haven’t met a single person yet who had a better reason for their fandom than “it works for me”.

The OS is like the handle of a hammer. Your hammer handle might have a red color and rubber texture that gives you a good grip. Someone else’s might prefer a lean wooden one that easily slips through their belt. Would you guys, for the love of humanity, please stop bickering about it? You’re supposed to HAMMER, dang it! No one besides you and your weird, hammer handle fetishists give anything about this, we just want to see that nail in the wall so we can hang our picture up.

Or whatever you do with a hammer, I don’t know… I am just a computer scientists.

Sidenote: If you Gates or Jobs fanboys (and let’s face it, you’re all male) start one more catfight in my vicinity without even knowing what the Xerox Alto or Star were, I’m going to personally devour your offspring. Should you ever get some, that is…