Friday, February 27, 2009

Is the OS Relevant Anymore?

I just read a post from @absenth referencing an article in Linux Journal about the relevancy of the OS.  The crux of the article is that, due to the transition to Cloud Computing and Software as a Service, the host OS is becoming less important.  Users are less concerned over the version of Windows or MacOS that the system is running, and more concerned with finding a good web browser and an office suite.  This trend is most visible in the netbook arena where most offerings include a stripped down version of Linux at a reduced price.  

So is the OS relevant?  If you were presented with a new laptop, and you had your choice of running Windows, MacOS, or Linux, would you have a preference?  How much would you pay for your preference?  I don't have any hard evidence, but I suspect that the average person would pick Windows if price were not a factor.  That would be my choice.  It would also be my choice when choosing an OS for a family member or non-technical friend.  I know my family members are familiar with Windows, and familiarity means fewer calls to me for tech support. That's worth at least $30-$60 from me.  On the other hand, I would choose the Linux variant for myself if it meant saving $100.  

I like the trend towards cloud computing, and I think it can only mean good things for consumers as the OS and hardware become less important.


  1. I would pick the one that works with my old printer, scanner, tablet, outputs to my TV and runs my current copy of Illustrator and Matlab.

    In other words, my big concern is not the OS per-se, but rather my favorite peripherals and software.

    For that reason, I'd choose Windows XP because any other choice would cost up to $400 for replacements.

    Legacy, Legacy, Legacy. Ever heard the story about the space shuttle and the width of a horses rear end?

  2. Sorry, that's me, Sam. I need a better interface for managing multiple blogger accounts.

  3. Hehe, no worries, and you make a valid point. The first time buyer will have a much different attitude than the replacement / upgrade buyer.