The OS Does Matter

Monday Note’s blog post entitled “The OS Doesn’t Matter” brings back the flame war on which OS is better. Unless you are running apps on a web browser or on Java (or any OS-independent apps for that matter), the OS does indeed matter. James Urquhart made the best comment:

The article misses a key point, IMHO, though it brushes on it at the end: what makes/breaks a “platform” isn’t the kernel, but the app-OS interface–the “API” that makes an app compatible or incompatible with the specific “distro”.

That OSX is built on Unix is unimportant to Linux users, other than they now know their way around the Terminal app for administration purposes. My Mac apps don’t run unaltered on Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and never will. My iPad apps don’t run unaltered on my Mac OSX instance, either.

Apps make a platform, not the kernel. This simple fact, from a software developers perspective, means that the OS *does* matter, though the OS I choose must have the best market-feature combination for the app I want to sell.

The API is the medium that software and hardware vendors “talks to” to create apps and drivers that will run on the OS kernel. The more apps/drivers being developed, the more clients using it (network effects) and the high switching costs for customers largely explains the Microsoft monopoly.

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