Top Operating System Guide
An operating system is the piece of software that interfaces between the computer's hardware, and the user. Without an operating system, using a computer would be near impossible for all but the brightest computer scientists. Nearly all electronic devices use an operating system of one type or another. Even devices such as microwaves and dishwashers use an embedded operating system, an operating system which is extremely simple and built for one specific task.
The most popular operating system on desktop computers is currently Microsoft's Windows XP with 67% usage, Windows Vista at 21%, Apple's Mac OS X at 4.73%, various Linux operating systems at a combined 1.15% and Windows 2k at .9%. When it comes to web hosts, there are essentially only two operating systems, Windows and Unix based systems. Windows based hosts use the IIS (Internet Information Services) while Unix (and Linux) based hosts often use the Apache web server. For simple websites, the operating system your web host uses won't matter much, however as your website becomes more complex, the system your web hosting provider uses becomes extremely important. Large websites that use IIS may very well stop working all together when switched to an Apache based host, and vice verses.
Apache is the most popular web server software in use today. One of the reasons that Apache is so popular is that it is free to use and is open source, meaning you have the ability to modify the software in any way you'd like. Other web server software such as IIS is more locked down and changes are not as easily made.
Operating System Resources:
Microsoft Windows - Get support with current versions of Windows and learn about the features of the upcoming version.
Microsoft IIS Server Software - Learn about the featurs of IIS as well as support and tips.
Unix - Around since at 1969, Unix has since branched into a huge amount of distributions including Sun's Solaris, Minix, Linux, and BSD.
Linux - Hundreds of operating systems are based upon the Linux operating system.
Ubuntu - The most popular Linux desktop distribution. Simple to use and has a large support network.
Open SUSE - Good for Linux beginners as well as experts. This softward is managed by Novell Inc.
Fedora - A project largely managed by Red Hat Inc. and has some interesting innovations however is sometimes difficult to use for newcomers.
Debian - A large Linux project with hundreds of developers which has gone on to create over 100 Debian-based operating systems.
Mandriva - Formerly Mandrake. While fully functional, Mandriva is often ignored by much of the Linux community.
Slackware - One of the cleanest distributions of Linux out there. The developers accomplish this by simplifying everything down to the core.
Gentoo - Originally designed for power users, many found it to be too tedious to use and update. Known for its extensive online documentation.
Cent OS - Stands for Community ENTerprise Operating System. Designed to be used with servers.
Free BSD - Known for its performance and stability, Free BSD is often used in servers and critical computers.
Web Hosting - Linux is a great Operating System for web hosting.
Apache - The most commonly used web hosting application on Linux based systems. 46% of all websites run on Apache.
Linux History - A history of the Linux operating system.
Securing and Optimizing Linux - Learn how to keep your Linux installation both secure and running smoothly.