Some Common Desktop Operating Systems
This webpage surveys some features of some common desktop operating
systems. Even though some of these are quite dated, the survey
covers the following.
MS-DOS and Windows 3.x. Surprisingly, these are actually still around. They both predate Windows 95. Littlejohn Shinder lists several reasons for using MS-DOS.
But MS-DOS also has some disadvantages.
Using Windows 3.x on top of MS-DOS can ease some of these. For example, some advantages for Windows 3.x running on top of DOS are in the following list.
Some limitations associated with Windows 3.x in network environments.
Windows 9x. Windows 95 was propounded to be designed for easy networkability. This badly needed to be enhanced in Windows 98. While Windows 98 was considered by most to be a substantive improvement, probably the only people who would really agree to claims of easy networkability are making money off of Microsoft sales.
The collection of products referred to collectively as Windows 9x are in the following list.
This family of products include a client for Microsoft networks and a client for NetWare, NetBEUI, TCP/IP and NWLink. Support for dialup connections was also built in.
Windows 98 really did become a major choice for businesses in order to connect to a variety of types of servers. It was backward compatible and could run older 16 bit programs. The later editions made use of VFAT in order to get things like longer filenames. These products had several advantages over other Microsoft offerings such as the following.
The book contains a series of interactions representing connecting to these different Microsoft and NetWare networks.
Windows NT Workstation. This is an NT product that can be run on a desktop. It has a user interface that is similar to Windows 95.
Some of the advantages of using NT Workstation are in the following list.
Littlejohn Shinder also has some steps associated with connecting such a workstation to a Microsoft network, a NetWare network and a remote server.
Windows 2000 Professional. Windows 2000 Professional is based on the NT kernel just like Windows 2000 Server. It has a variety of advantages over all of its Microsoft's preceding related products. The following list outlines many of them.
Littlejohn Shinder also has some steps associated with connecting such a desktop to a Microsoft network, a NetWare network and a remote server.
Linux/UNIX. UNIX is usually run on network servers rather than on desktops. But it is still possible for UNIX servers to access files on Microsoft and NetWare networks given they have the appropriate add on programs.
Linux is becoming more prevalent in the business world as a NOS, though it is still seldom seen as a desktop OS. GUI interfaces for Linux do exist in order to make it more user friendly, though they still require somewhat more sophistication of the user than other desktop systems. But, as you'd likely expect, there are some companies striving to increase their desktop market share.
Even with these inroads it is important to think about what sort of application support is available. Windows has a lot more vendors developing productivity applications. But, there are also firms trying to market Windows emulation programs for Linux. Corel makes a Linux version of their office suite.
TCP/IP is integrated into the Linux kernel. Recent Linux releases also have networking components for LAN connections or establishing dialup connections to a network.
Some advantages of Linux for a desktop and network client are in the following list.
Littlejohn Shinder also has some steps associated with connecting such a desktop to a Microsoft network, a NetWare network and a remote access server.
Macintosh. Macintosh computers were designed with easy peer to peer networking in mind. Network interfaces are often built into the Macintosh operating system. Ethernet and Token Ring adapters are also available. They can readily access AppleShare file servers.
AppleTalk can be readily implemented to connect Macs into workgroups. AppleTalk makes use of a concept called zones. Zones are essentially workgroups. A user within a zone can access all of the appropriate resources within their zone. Other zones may also be accessible in the chooser list if so configured.
Littlejohn Shinder also has some steps associated with connecting such a desktop to a Microsoft network, a NetWare network, a UNIX network and a remote access server.
OS/2. Even though IBM stopped supporting the product in the mid 90s, it is still in use in some settings. It can be connected to NetWare with the appropriate software. Add on kits have been developed for connecting to TCP/IP based networks. A sys admin can also implement add ons for NFS, NetBIOS and IPX/SPX.
OS/2 Warp v4 includes support for dialup networking and Internet connectivity.