Microsoft And Windows Competitors

This essay has a total of 1772 words and 9 pages.

Microsoft And Windows Competitors

A lot of people today, mostly microsofties, argue that Microsoft should not be split up
since it isn't really a monopoly; Windows has a lot of competitors out there and some of
the companies that make them are even bigger than Microsoft. And that is actually quite
true: Microsoft has only about 6% of the global software market and only 3% of the global
computer market overall. There are several computer companies that make more than
Microsoft, like Sun Microsystems and Compaq and there are at least nine other operating
systems besides Windows, some of which you could even get for free.


After three decades of use, the UNIX computer operating system from Bell Labs is still
regarded as one of the most powerful, versatile, and flexible operating systems (OS) in
the computer world. Its popularity is due to many factors, including its ability to run a
wide variety of machines, from micros to supercomputers, and its portability -- all of
which led to its adoption by many manufacturers.


The UNIX operating system was designed to let a number of programmers access the computer
at the same time and share its resources. While initially meant for medium-sized
computers, the system was soon moved to larger, more powerful mainframe computers. As
personal computers grew in popularity, versions of UNIX found their way into these boxes,
and a number of companies produce UNIX-based machines for the scientific and programming
communities.


A major contribution of the UNIX system was its portability, permitting it to move from
one brand of computer to another with a minimum of code changes. At a time when different
computer lines of the same vendor didn't talk to each other -- yet alone machines of
multiple vendors -- that meant a great savings in both hardware and software upgrades. It
also meant that the operating system could be upgraded without having all the customer's
data inputted again. And new versions of UNIX were backward compatible with older
versions, making it easier for companies to upgrade in an orderly manner.


UNIX comes with hundreds of programs that can be divided into two classes: integral
utilities that are absolutely necessary for the operation of the computer, such as the
command interpreter, and tools that aren't necessary for the operation of UNIX but provide
the user with additional capabilities, such as typesetting capabilities and e-mail; the
tools can be added or removed from a UNIX system, depending upon the applications
required.


The UNIX system is functionally organized at three levels: the kernel, which schedules
tasks and manages storage; the shell, which connects and interprets users' commands, calls
programs from memory, and executes them; and the tools and applications that offer
additional functionality to the operating system.


The kernel, the heart of the operating system, controls the hardware and turns part of the
system on and off at the programmer's command. If you ask the computer to list (ls) all
the files in a directory, the kernel tells the computer to read all the files in that
directory from the disk and display them on your screen.


There are several types of shell, most notably the command driven Bourne Shell and the C
Shell, and menu-driven shells that make it easier for beginners to use. Whatever shell is
used, its purpose remains the same -- to act as an interpreter between the user and the
computer. The shell also provides the functionality of "pipes," whereby a number of
commands can be linked together by a user, permitting the output of one program to become
the input to another program.


There are hundreds of tools available to UNIX users and they are typically grouped into
categories for certain functions, such as word processing, business applications, or
programming.


LINUX, a 1991 version of UNIX, was developed by Linus Torvalds, a student at the time, and
by hundreds of volunteer programmers around the world. This system can be downloaded at
absolutely no charge from the Internet. Caldera is the commercial version of Linux;
although you have to pay for it, the advantage is that it is almost self-installing, like
Windows is (some say it's even easier than Windows).


Sun Microsystems has also developed a platform of its own, whose latest edition, Solaris 8
or the ".com Operating Environment", is said to "raise the bar for the industry,
re-defining the operating system and revolutionizing the operating system business."
"Sun's claim that it built the backbone of the Internet is not that far from the truth",
said a PC World article in May, 1999. The new features in Solaris 8 software are said to
drive the five critical requirements for Internet-based systems - scalability,
availability, manageability, security and connectivity - to new heights.


BeOS is the operating system from Be, Inc. "Based on an entirely new idea in computing,
BeOS was designed to satisfy the higher processing and memory requirements of today's
digital media on standard PC hardware, without slowing down or freezing up." say the
developers. It works with audio, video, image, and Internet-based applications, and edits
files of millions of gigabytes in size, simultaneously, in real-time and boots up in less
Continues for 5 more pages >>




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