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Would you ever use a non unix like operating system ever again by your free will. (Working environments don't count)

And why aren't all operating systems posix based? <-Serious question? It just seems so painfully obvious to me this is how all operating systems should be.


JorgeM commented: you have inspired me...downloaded ubuntu and now reading over some tutorials!! +12

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I would not use another OS by my free will. On the other hand, linux must have serious drawbacks to fill so little space in the OSes market share statistics.
Its main drawback may be incompatibility with microsoft based software.

No. I would not choose to use a non unix-like system. I even consider it when looking for a job, that if they seem to be using Windows, I have to take into account the fact that this job would imply a heavy daily dose of OS-related frustrations that I wouldn't have to suffer on a different job where they use a unix-like system.

The main reason that there is an operating system, Windows, that isn't based on posix is nothing more than a historical and rather unfortunate accident. One might argue that it is a part of Microsoft's business strategy now (prevent Windows-only commercial software from being easily offered in unix-like systems (Mac, Linux, etc.)). I think that when Microsoft started out with DOS, it wasn't yet clear that Unix-like systems would end up becoming the de facto standard system architecture for nearly all operating systems from the late 80s onwards. This explains why it was reasonable in those days to using a completely original architecture for DOS instead of trying to follow the lead of unix / posix architectures. And when Microsoft captured such a large part of the consumer market, it became an advantage to be "special" in this way. And now, the only way to make Windows usable is to install Cygwin (and Unix-like compatibility layer running on top of Windows).

Posix is undoubtably the best architecture. Also, Steve Jobs' decision to adopt a unix-like / posix operating system (OS X, based on NeXT) was definitely part of what allowed Apple to be re-born in the 2000s, because they could more easily adopt existing Posix software and programmers familiar with Posix environments.

commented: Right on the money, as ever! +9

Not by choice, no! At home I've been using Linux exclusively for a good number of years now and I don't see myself ever switching to a non POSIX/non unix-like system.

At work, where I have to use Windows and I get no say in that; I do exactly what Mike mentioned. I install Cygwin with X11, dwm and all of my favourite tools and programming languages/libraries. Makes my day to day Windows experience a little more unix-like.

Cygwin is a far superior terminal environment to cmd or powershell IMO. Powershell seems like a half-arsed attempt at creating a unix-like terminal/shell. And cmd is pretty much useless in comparison to both. After using the Linux command-line as much as I do, using the Windows equivalents just irritates/frustrates me beyond belief. On Windows, Cygwin is a must-have. With Cygwin, I have a much better toolset to help me to do my job!

My wife is a physicist and I am a software architect/engineer. All of our systems at home are either OSX or Linux. Even when I am forced by an employer to use Windows, most of my work is in Linux and I run it in a virtual machine. Windows is used only for "business" applications. As for OSX, it was derived from Next, but that was from BSD Unix, and now the BSD part far outstrips the Next part.

Even though i've done very well in my career (last two decades), which primary revolves around supporting and teaching MS operating systems, applications and web dev (, i definately feel like i've missed the boat when it comes to working with real operating systems and development in the world of unix.

commented: You could also try Elementary OS(It is based on ubuntu but has OS X-like desktop environment) +6

I'm a .NET guy so my primary OS has to be Windows, but I've been using Ubuntu as my main system for the last year and I love it. I have NetBeans installed for learning Java, and the Python stuff is great (still learning the basics). I use VMware player to run Windows 7 but all my new language learning is done on Ubuntu.

What I know I miss in the Linux world is having that grounding in command line tools, and editors like VI and Emacs, still learning Bash scripting. I honestly don't have the time at the moment to learn them as it is not important to my current work, but I certainly would like to at some point.

I don't know as much as you guys around the real fundamentals of a "nix" system (if that is the right terminology), but I would like to defend Microsoft a little bit. They have made (or nicked - which ever way you look at it) systems that have been easy for the masses to adopt, especially in the DOS/Windows 3 days and because of this created a dominant market share. While Unix/Linux at the same time was hard to configure/understand for the masses. This is however becoming so much easier now and I recommend Linux to all of my friends (three of which now run it for their day to day use and they are not that computer literate), which confirms my belief that it is easier today than it was 30 years ago.

To answer the question of "Would I ever" then yes, I would use whatever it is that pays the bills (I know you said work environments don't count). If I was blessed to understand "nix" and the tooling then I would prefer to use that, but he-ho, use what works for you and allows you to produce the results for your customer.

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Good luck JorgeM, I think all CS geeks like us here should have experiences with all operating systems.

I genuinely believe once you go nix you never look back, unless you're writing dotnet apps for your job.

Actually, my history has been windows -> linux tried a few distros -> mac os X.

After you figure out how nix systems work, you soon realise/appreciate the security over windows systems.

Why I've settled with os X is because it combines the perfect blend of stability and security with practical applications like word, or photoshop and illustrator, which is perhaps the one and only reason I prefer os X over linux.

We have a small team in our office, they mainly do sales and accounts, and I moved them to ubuntu, and I can say for the years they've switched they've had no issues with spyware, malware and they are able to work productively.

As others have mentioned just the way posix systems are designed makes it a joy to work with. It wouldn't really surprise if some point in the far distant future windows slowly switch their operating system to a posix foundation. To be fair all the popular bits of software already have mac os x equivalents so most of the work has already been done.

And even gaming, if you look at steam, a lot of popular games have been ported to mac and even linux.

I think mac os x has catapulted nix systems into the mainstream. More or less everyone I know has an iphone. And once they've appreciated the engineering behind it, it is not long before they dip their toes and buy a mac book air or something.

After that, there's no going back. It is something that brings a smile to my face.

Well, I am stuck on all operating systems(Forensic tests/vulnerability explotations), but the one that I am running about 99% of the time is Linux

I am very hopeful with the trend of many "professional" commercial software being ported to Linux and Mac. And I am also very happy that my field, robotics, has really embrassed Linux. As I am currently evaluating my options for employment, I see that the vast majority of people doing robotics are using a Linux-based stack of software and libraries. The traditional engineering side of the business is still inclined to use Windows, mostly due to the professional engineering software that they work with, but I'm very hopeful for the future of Linux in those technical fields. For example, stepping into a space mission operations control center and seeing that all computers are running Linux makes me very happy.

What I know I miss in the Linux world is having that grounding in command line tools, and editors like VI and Emacs, still learning Bash scripting.

I don't think that's a major problem. These things can be learned as you go. I've never set out to learn Bash and other fundamental Linux tools. I just learned to become proficient with them over time, from one simple task to another, learning bit by bit. For instance, after many years using Linux, I just learned a few months ago about how awesome "named pipes" are when running lots of scripts... I mean, being able to chain multiple programs (that were never meant to be chained) to run in parallel while reading / writing each others inputs and outputs without generating any temporary files in the process (not even using the hard-drive at all)... that's just mind blowing.

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Well, I am stuck on all operating systems(Forensic tests/vulnerability explotations), but the one that I am running about 99% of the time is Linux

That's why it pains me to see your avatar as a java mascot. It's practically sacrilege to use java on a posix system. It's dirty in so many ways! I hope you've learned your lesson :)

commented: Heh, heh... I agree iamthwee +13
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