Which workstation OS would you like to support?

Everyone has an opinion regarding which workstation OS they'd love to have in their company's network. In this week's Point and Counterpoint, we give you the opportunity to make a case for your personal favorite.

Point and Counterpoint's purpose is to present a balanced discussion among our members regarding hardware, software, and any other topic that our members wish to debate. If you have a suggestion for Point and Counterpoint, feel free to send us a note.
Workstations make the world go round
Recently, I had a discussion with a friend of mine regarding the use of workstations in corporate environments. When I asked him his opinion about using something other than a Windows-based workstation, I received an interesting answer: “Macs are no good, and Linux will never make it to where Windows is today.”

Of course, I argued with him on this matter, stating my belief that it would be a better world, or at least a better office, if we could run different workstations. Windows doesn’t need to be the only choice that users have. After all, we live in a free country and should have the right to choose what we want to work with, right?

So here is my question to the TechRepublic audience: What workstation would you like to have in your company? To help you decide, I’ve listed a few choices below to contemplate. Each option has good and bad points highlighting why the OS should or should not be chosen as a standard workstation machine.

And the choices are…

  • Windows
    Our first choice would be the most common OS used on a workstation: Microsoft Windows. The three versions of Windows most likely to be considered are Microsoft Windows 98SE, Windows NT 4.0 Workstation, and Windows 2000 Professional.

    Good points: It has a virtually unlimited amount of software available, supports a large number of hardware components depending on which version is chosen, and most people are familiar with the interface.

    Bad points: Windows has a tendency to crash often, it can be expensive even with upgrades, and none of the OS is open source.
  • Mac OS
    Mac OS has made great strides over the past few years, and is once again becoming a popular OS among end users in company environments. At the moment, the operating system is at version 9, but Apple plans to release the next version, Mac OS X, soon.

    Good points: It is designed for ease of use, is great for word processing or graphics manipulation, its next version will be partly open source, and it boasts a devoted user following.

    Bad points: There is very little software support, Apple computers carry a small share of the computer market as compared to the PC, and there is limited hardware available that has been designed for the Mac (though this is changing).
  • Linux/UNIX
    One of the fastest growing operating systems could possibly become one of the most popular workstations, if it can meet the needs of companies. Because the OS is open source, companies are seriously considering using it to help save cash that would otherwise be used for licensing other operating systems.

    Good points: It is an open source operating system, it includes free software such as spreadsheet programs and word processors found throughout the Internet, and it has a large developer base that helps the platform continue to grow on a daily basis.

    Bad points: There is a lack of vital support for companies that download the software over the Internet, many programs released for the OS can often be buggy, and users often have to wait an extensive period of time before a kernel release so that new items can be implemented (e.g., USB and FireWire).
Of course, there are other workstation operating systems out there as well. We have just listed the top three that are available as of the publication of this column. If you have a suggestion for another OS, please feel free to leave your thoughts about it as well.
Choose, but choose wisely
So what do you think? Which operating system would you like your company to be using? Are you an MCSE who only desires to have Windows-based machines in your company? Perhaps you’re a diehard Mac addict that wants to get rid of the PC altogether in favor of a company that runs only Macs? Or are you part of the open-source movement, and want to see that every machine on your network has either Linux or UNIX on it, free from the control of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs?

We want to know your thoughts! Feel free to leave a post below with your opinions or send us an e-mail explaining which operating system you believe makes the best workstation for everyone. We’ll pick a few of the best responses to publish in a future edition of Point and Counterpoint!
By submitting a response, you agree to let TechRepublic publish your thoughts on its Web site. You also agree that TechRepublic may adapt and edit and authorize the adaptation and editing of each submission, as it deems necessary. TechRepublic may or may not publish a submission at its sole discretion.

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