Windows, Apple or Ubuntu?

natty narwhal desktop I am not about to write a post where I soften the edges for everyone and agree but I do accept we are all different and what I am about to say expresses my personal preference.The one thing I can say about all the OS’ is that they have some good support for teachers and education and over the last year that has increased. No matter which OS you use there are now viable choices in software and education groups and forums. At work I use a MacBook all the time because it is our laptop of choice and with good reason. Technically the students and MacBooks have come up with some interesting challenges occasionally but MacBooks are pretty robust and system failures and interference is very limited. Apples are based on Unix and given Unix was the original OS to offer software for all then it was disheartening to discover that Apple was pushing the paid software line. Apple and the market have since rearranged themselves so there is now a good balance between free software, free to try software which is not crippled and then paid software. The apps store is a good move because apps are now familiar ground for everyone. I have found plenty of freeware which I can use and try which has added to my MacBook. I do not own it so the paid software is supplied to us. I leave the OS alone but I certainly have fun finding things which will help my MacBook look better or increase my productivity in the classroom. My biggest learning curve was how to keep my MacBook tidy and organised. It was a challenge but I have mastered that now. Initially I found the Apple approach very confusing and I had to work through a number of steps and get software to help me. My MacBook runs smoothly, has some good tools and software and has been very reliable. It’s a bit shaky on flash but not too bad and so everything I want to do is accomplished without a hitch. I have learned to use Spotlight and programme preferences to make my life easier on a MacBook. It runs hard and it runs well. I rarely use Windows these days. I dual boot Windows at home on my desktop and laptop. Microsoft Office cannot be beaten. It easily produces classy, original material and has a far greater capacity to be creative and imaginative compared with other office suites. Other office suites do the job. Microsoft Office not only does the job there is far more depth to it. Windows also has so much software on offer both freeware, shareware and paid software. I stay out of Windows because I get tired of the updates and then the long wait to shut my computer down. I get tired of the range wars between Windows and whatever it decides at the time and I get tired of hauling what seems to be a huge amount of stuff around. Windows 7 has been quite good and it accesses international news sites far better than other OS’ and its capacity to manage flash is second to none.My OS of choice remains Natty Narwhal from Ubuntu. I dual boot it with Windows and my MacBook dual boots with Windows as well. I like the search function of the dashboard in Natty. I can do screencasts and graphics more easily in Natty. I am getting better at Gimp so I use that on the MacBook as well. Natty makes very good use of my graphics cards and images are far better on Natty than any other operating system. I like to decorate my desktop so image is everything to me. I like the dock at the side. Natty makes life very easy for me. It has some trouble with international news sites. Silverlight handles these things better than Moonlight. I really like the Banshee music player. Natty just runs well. I had a problem with the screensaver hanging my computer from time to time. I have taken it off and not had a problem since. Ubuntu has always made my computing life easy. I can just get on with what I want and it is not using up all my system resources and running the processor or hard drive too hard . Being cross platform gave me a challenge at first and when new versions come out I still have to think them out. Nothing wrong with using my brain. If I had a NetBook I’d be running that on Linux because it is more efficient at using system resources and so there is superior speed and page access. Windows on a Netbook is why you have an iPod Touch to play with!

Josefine Grimm-Blenk

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