The operating system is dead, long live the operating system

Is your chosen brand of operating system really all that important to you and your business anymore? Can't your systems accommodate just about any OS now? Take the poll, and we will find out.

I am the Senior Editor in charge of the TechRepublic Microsoft Windows Blog, and I have been in this position for a very long time now. That being said, I am very much an agnostic when it comes to the religious-like battles that take place between evangelists of the various personal computer operating systems. I cover Microsoft Windows because it is my job, not because it fulfills my spiritual needs.

Don't get me wrong, I like Windows 7 very much and have installed it on all my personal computers -- it is stable, quick, and, most importantly, capable of running  the applications I want to run. And when you get right down to the real nitty-gritty, isn't that all an operating system is supposed to do?

I bring this up because earlier this week, Jason Hiner asked a very interesting poll question in the Tech Sanity Check Blog:

How loyal are you to Microsoft Windows?

The question intrigued me because, as I thought about it, I realized I am not really "loyal" to Windows at all. I think more than anything it is simple inertia that keeps me using that operating system. Sure Mac OS X and Linux can run most of the applications I run in Windows, but why change? Neither of those operating systems does anything spectacularly better or different than Windows. More and more, the operating systems are just clones of each other; changing is not really changing anymore.

It is not loyalty or religious-like fervor the keeps me in the Windows camp; it is apathy. (Come to think of it, that is probably what drives the evangelistic true believers so crazy -- so many of us operating system agnostics don't care.)

That personal realization led me to another thought: Is the choice of an operating system really important to the IT pro anymore? Especially for businesses, as more applications become web browser-based, does the operating system really have to be homogenous across the organization? As an IT professional, working with the technology each and every day, do you think the choice of operating system still matters?

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