11 OSes that Tried (and failed) to Take Down Windows



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"currently whopping 20 percent"

No, uhm, not at all, like 6-9%, where it has stayed pretty consistently this decade.

Sometimes you guys pull numbers from thin air, I swear.



No it's between 20-30% based on articles I've seen on here discussing OS market share






windows 7 and mac os x are leagues ahead of the rest of the OSs on this list and will remain so for the forseeable future.   linux and others just don't have the wide base of users and applications windows and mac do.   the problem with mac os x is that legally you have to buy an apple machine to use it.   macs are expensive and not at all customizable.   plus their keyboards do not have delete keys.



not going to get into numbers but will agree with you about Macs being pricey. for being obsoleteish. I mean seriously >$1100 for a core 2 duo machine with around 1.4-3.0 GHz cpu, no video card (like a GTX 590 for example)  No HDMI, no Blue Ray drives or support and no touchscreen. (iMac 'desktops').  Seriously.. for the $2000 they want for one I could build a good rig that would smoke it. Hell maybe even Hackintosh it (which isn't Apple friendly) or run a BSD/Unix or GNU/Linux operating system that would be just as fast, stable, and reliable.  The use of flash storage is now Apple's reps new excuse for the high cost of such outdated tech under the hood (the cpu) and other lack of features I've listed. Granted some other Apple products have solved this but not seen even the new Macbook Air with anything worth getting.



This article is very very very poor.

1. Google Chrome OS isn't out yet, so how can it score on the list.

2. Ubuntu hasn't failed yet, more and more people are moving to Ubuntu.

3. FreeBSD, OSX, etc. are still around.


This is why I stopped reading Maximum PC. They have nothing to write about so they make up junk. Also if it tried to take down Window, Vista is Windows, if you include Vista, why not ME? But then again you can't include a Microsoft Windows made OS into an OS that tried to take down Windows as a whole.


Sorry, but this looks like it was written by an amateur who knows  nothing about Computers or OSes and just found information from Google Searches.



What about Geoworks (or GEOS).  I remember having that OS on 5 floppy disks.  I think it was written in assembly language and it was fast, faster then Windows.  Not sure what happened to it.  Microsoft probably gobbled it up.



ah yes, GEOS, I remember this option with my C64 back 1987 :)




I own a MacBook Pro, Iphone4 and have had a few iPods, but all my serious work is done on a Windows PC I built myself currently running Windows 7, yes I've been through all the incarnations of Windows from Dos4 onward. Do I love my MacBook Pro? It looks good, the aluminum body is genius and that's it, all I use it for is to surf the internet and if I want to FaceTime with a larger screen, otherwise that's all it's good for, my coworkers think me crazy for sitting there just surfing the net, why not use it for video editing, touching up photos and such, I do all that on my Windows PC and I can play all the latest games. Is my Windows OS stable? There are times when a coworker brings her Windows laptop or desktop in for a bug or issue, but even those 17inch PowerBooks and Quad-Core desktops get into trouble too, funny how the Mac fanboys at work suddenly go quiet when their Uber machine is on the fritz. I treat my machines like equipment, you maintain it properly and it will work the way it should, things like corrupted files, bad hard drives and unreadable cds are beyond your control, yes we do need an anti-virus for Windows but that's because the Windows OS is so open to everyone someone will exploit, is Mac vulnerable? yes it is, but it's no fun to hack a small percent of the computer population, you want to target the biggest user base and sorry to say Mac does not want to rule the world, it's a BMW and not everyone in the world can afford one. As far as MAC being secure, well ask Steve why he wants to control the entire Widget, if Windows controlled the entire Widget it would be like Mac, less compatability and less customization, I call it Mac Communism, it's either Steve's way or no way, we learned that from the iPhone 4, we can only hold it a certain way, why in the photos you can but in real life you can't. Some people like communism, no color, no variety just a bland gray landscape with everyone wearing mock black turtles, but at least Steve left us jeans. I like my MacBook Pro, it's great for surfing the web, emails and video chat, I like my iPhone, hands down it does have the best screen and touch interface, will these replace my hard working, fully customizable, watercooled Windows based PC? No way.



@tom_stone: Great post as it sums my feelings about Apple too.  I don't buy Apple products mostly because I just can't justify the cost.  The only exception for me is the iPad, which I think is priced reasonable.  Everything I do is on a Windows PC and Linux.  Windows has it's flaws, but if you take care of your equipment (updates, virus scans, "smart" browsing, non-admin user accounts, etc), then Windows is as solid as any Mac.  Believe me, Macs have their own set of problems.  BSOD's (or facsimiles) don't exist just on Windows machines.

Love the Mac Communism analogy too.



Spamity Spam Spam Spammer.






     I've used windows all my, albiet short so far, life. I was always content with windows until a few years ago I discovered Linux and Mac OS X. I am not any coder or anything but I like Linux Ubuntu's simple and flexible user interface. I have to also admit that when I first used Mac OS X I liked it alot to. My solution is just to triple boot them (Mac OS X via hackintosh). So I guess I can say I like all of them.  



Personally, I love Linux. I've tried about three dozen distros, none have even come close to PCLOS. If you're looking for an easy-to-use distro with excellent apps and every desktop environment, PCLOS has it.

I also have to strongly recommend Haiku and Icaros as other alternative operating systems. Haiku is an opensource clone of BeOS, and Icaros is an opensource clone of the AmigaOS. Unique experiences compared to the Windows and Macs I grew up with, but Linux is still my favorite.



OSX is superior... on my hackintosh



I love that Windoze Vista is listed at number two, but after seeing number one, would probably switch the two.  All the branding in the world doesn't make up for the fact that Mac don't run most business applications.  And all the marketing won't make up for the fact that everyone's peripherals stopped working when the manufacturers angrily withdrew support due to Microsoft's lack of cooperation.



I work for a Fortune 100 company and an increasingly large portion of the user population is moving to the Mac platform. Every time I meet with a group there's at least one Mac in the room. If it's with engineers, there's usually quite a few more than just one. More than a quarter of our user base is choosing Mac when they are given an opportunity to refresh their laptop.


The majority of our business applications are either web-based, run natively on Mac or under virtualization with Fusion or Parallels. With the launch of Office 2011 there's only one application I still run under virtualization, which is Outlook, and that's only because we haven't upgraded our Exchange servers yet.


So when you say "most business applications", keep in mind that, for most people, that means the Microsoft Office suite.



 Mac's have been and most likely will always be foo-foo machines. Mac's appeal to the narcissistic latte, two personal trainer me, me bunch who embrace their beloved Mac whole hardily. A close friend indeed
 loved more then a close family member.
  All kidding aside, except for a few useful app's the Mac it's just a lovely piece of decorum.
    I had quite a collection of Amiga's. When Jay Minor sold Amiga to Commodore it was all downhill from there..
    Time marches on. Windows 7 is by far M$ best attempt at decent OS. Hell I like it!


Mello In Menlo



For all the ad hominem attacks that Mac fans receive, the irony of it all is that die-hard anti-Mac people have no solid OS to base their attacks on.

It took until Windows 7 for Windows to be considered "stable."  OS X was mature from the get-go, even back in the days when it was still NeXTStep OS.



95-XP were all secure. Vista had little problems, but the unintelligent users gave it too much bad rep. Stop dis-ing on Windows and try using it for a change. It's got much more abilities, much more customization, and takes use of much more power than any linux platform and mac platforms. It's simply put, the best. Macs will never be more than a childs toy and will always be a safetey net for "nonconforming artists" that needs to grow up and get a real job. Linux will be for people who want to code (like me) but will always be much less stable and innovative than Windows. Windows will be windows. Utter perfection in other words.



"95-XP were all secure."

LMAO.  9x's were hardly secure.  They could't even protect against a simple login screen bypass all that was needed was to click cancel or alternatively http://9gag.com/gag/43525/ .


Flagal Fire

Vista did had little problems.. when getting a new computer with it pre-installed. You have obviously never dealt with an upgrade process. And no, Windows is not utter perfection as you would like to believe, they had to rely on FreeBSD to have the most secure kernel of all, and they STILL can't manage to make their own kernel secure on their own!


"Macs will never be more than a childs toy and will always be a safetey net for "nonconforming artists" that needs to grow up and get a real job. Linux will be for people who want to code (like me) INSERT REST OF BS HERE". Wow you sure don't like to make yourself look bad, now do you? Tell you what, just go back to your pedestal, like you always do, and keep telling yourself that you're somehow better than the rest of the crowd. Shouldn't be too hard, as I'm sure this isn't the first time you've had to quell your feelings of inferiority, now is it?



Ok, now someone call someone else a "Nazi"!  This is great reading. You people need to calm the f*ck down, please.

Look, each OS has it's strengths and weaknesses.  Windows is great if you like to build your own machine, if you like games, if you like benchmarking and overclocking, etc.  That is why most of the people on MaximumPC.com are such Window-philes. Windows-based PCs let us BUILD awesome computers and then do awesome things with them. Mac computers are for a different market.

By design, Mac products are meant to simplify the user experience.  It is the philosophy the company was built on, and it has proved admirably successful.  It is really much easier to do simple tasks on a Mac than it is on a Windows-based PC... I hate to say it, but it is true - particularly for the elderly or those less-familiar with the nuts-and-bolts of a computer system.  A Mac won't do as much as a PC because the software doesn't exist (before you blow up at me, Mac-o-philes, show me you playing Crysis on your Mac Air) and they are more expensive for the same hardware when compared to a Windows-based PC in most cases, so there is a tradeoff there. But for surfing the web, sending emails, etc, Mac is an easy experience. Apple makes an attractive product for many rational consumers.

That said, I don't know why so many engineers are pro-mac.  Being in/near the Silicon Valley, I can attest to the fact that many engineers here (more than 25%, I would guess) use Macs.  Perhaps an engineer can chime in and let us know their reasons? Lot's of Googlers use Macs as their primary or secondary machines, which I found surprising. Why?



My roomie is a diehard Mac Fanboi - he's also a software engineer for a major defence contractor.

According to him, the mac has style and its programming is efficient.  I've also seen him game on that machine.  All that said, he said he's glad to have shed the Windows off of him. 

Me, I'm still a PC fan, for the very reasons of what you said: playing around with hardware and oc'ing.  Many of the other OS's mentioned here have their own plus/down sides.  One isn't on top because of their superiority but rather how well it has adopted into individual and businesses.

Speaking of Vista, when I first got it, it did gave me a bit of a headach in terms of hardware compatibility.  But as time moved on and many updates later, it did smooth out quite a bit.  I still use it in an older machine and it works just fine (saves me from having to pay for another Win7 copy).  Vista was pretty much hyped and dissed massively (even my g/f's mom, who knows nothing about comp, for some reason, hates Vista) - but really, learn to play with the drivers, d/l updates, fix it a bit where it's necessary, then it's not a bad OS.  It really got a bad name in the press. 

For my older machines, it's WinXP and I have another laptop which I use Ubuntu.  They all served their own purposes but my heart still lies with Win7 for praticality and versatility.

So really, it's up to each one to decide what do use their OS for as each have their own plus/minus.  There are many factors which can help determine which OS users should go for (e.g. costs, newbness). For people who don't know much about computers, go with OSX or Win7 - and learn to use either as basic.  Move on to Unix based OS's for a bit more challenge later on.



Practically every source I've found has placed Mac market share at just below 11% in the US, and just above 5% worldwide.

Where did that 20% figure come from?  I couldn't find a single source with numbers like that over three pages of search results.



I think the 20% figure is supposed to be a joke about Apple's propaganda campaign. They probably should have added a "or so Apple would like us to think" at the end of the sentence.



According to Net Market Share Apple only has 5% of the O/S market share. Or is this your estimate on Apple's share?



When did that happen? According to wikipedia it is more like 7%.


As of Oct 2010. 1 in 5 PC users uses a Mac? Um...no. 




Agreed. The last numbers I read were that OSX holds just a little over 7% of the OS market. That's just a TAAAAAD less that the 20% posted by the author of this article.




I would say someone has been drinking the MacLife Kool-Aid, but even the latte-sipping Crapple fanboys over there only claim 8%!

I've seen various numbers being thrown around from various pundits, but most peg it at less than 10% maybe approaching 10% in the U.S. in just the last month or two. IDC's preliminary information says 10.6% in 3Q2010 in the United States (sorry, Mr. Jobs you didn't sell enough world-wide to broken out seperately).

Heck, even the iPhone is only about 25% of smartphone sales (and only 2.5% of mobile phones in general).

I saw one article from a couple of years back where one twit shows a graph that shows a 3% world-wide market share and then claimed that must mean 20% of the consumer purchauses were Apple (yeah all those computers that businesses buy don't really count do they. That's like claiming truck sales to business don't count in the automotive market).



I have fond memories of BeOS. Though I primarily use Windows now. I'll tinker with Linux OS's every now and then mainly Ubuntu and Linux Mint. I guess the only thing that holds me to windows is gaming. 



Haiku is a nearly complete, 100% binary-compatible, and opensource version of BeOS. Personally, I love it! When it is feature complete, I will most definitely switch to it from PCLOS. Haiku Project.



I started computing on a Tandy CoCo with a whopping 16k of memory, but then moved on to an Atari 800xl, and then the ST, which became a long time favorite of mine. The TOS OS was excellent, and quick. I then got a PC with DOS 3.31 and made the progression through the various Windows versions up to now (skipped Vista) with Windows 7. I've used OSX and still don't think it's all that Steve Jobs tries to sell it as. I LOVE Windows 7, and will be waiting for the next iteration of Windows when it's released.



Over my 25+ years of using PC's, I've only used Windows as my primary OS for roughly 5 of those years...


Short history:

Started on IBM DOS...

From DOS to OS/2 Warp!, Win 3.1 ran on top of OS/2 Warp (similar to running on DOS)

From OS/2 Warp with Win 3.1 to Windows 95 and then 98.

While using Win 98 there was a patch that modified a hot-key I used frequently, PO'ed I went out and bought Linux Mandrake 7.2, which I used for a few months, but was incompatible with my MS mouse and Win Modem, so I switched back to Windows for a while.

I used XP for another 2 years or so as the Primary OS,  eventually switching to Slackware.

From Slackware I dual-booted with XP a number of different distro's, including:

Debian, Ubuntu, PSLinuxOS, Mint, Arch, Saybayon, Fedora eventually settling on Ubuntu.


Today I use Ubuntu 10.10 on all my PC's at home (4) including an HTPC / Server.  Most of these dual-boot with various versions of Windows as well, but I only use Windows for gaming, and RAW image conversion, as Phase One's Capture One 5 Pro is written with .NET 3.5, and is incompatible with WINE at this point. :/



Some of these operating systems are still on the rise, so I think it is premature to say they have failed to take down Windows. You don't overcome 90% marketshare overnight, after all. But as long as an operating system is growing, I can't honestly say it has failed to overtake Windows, it just hasn't yet succeeded, which is a different matter. For that matter, you say ChromeOS has failed to overtake Windows, but last I looked, ChromeOS hasn't even released yet.



It's just like on PCWorld claiming that linux is dead when it comes to the personal computer market on laptops and desktops etc.  Sounds like the writer doesn't do their homework and/or are a Windows fanboy intent on putting down anything that's not their beloved OS. Even listing Windows Vista in this lineup was rather ignorant.   Going by strictly marketshare then yeah it looks like Windows runs the world, but such a measurement tool in this case isn't an accurate count of that really. I mean  Linux is free, and you can make CDs to pass out to friends and whatnot along with using one disc or usb to work multiple computers. They need to measure useage of OS like they do with useage of web browser as those seem more accurate as to who's using what.  ( i.e. 30% of our visitors use Chrome on gnu/linux, 10% are on Safari via OSX etc..)  

For being the young contendor in a tough market dominated by Windows, Linux has been on the rise lately and is packing eyecandy that rivals that of Vista and 7 as well as a faster, less resource using compiling to make it fast and easy to use.  Heck trying xp to linux mint 9 or 10 and it's not much of a changeover in regards of a pleasuing ui and things work. (like flash video as that's a biggie)



i agreee as well

and once steam is on one other platform i can think of (linux), then ill probably make the switch...



100% agreed.

Also to note, several of these were not even intended to replace Windows as the dominant OS. OS X has been picking away at Windows for some time, Red Hat is exclusively for enterprise servers (and AFAIK, does a killing against Windows), and Minix is intended (and initially licenced) for academic study only.



That is a good side note that I don't think many took into consideration when reading the article, or even writing it.  Just seems like a windows fanboy article . Good points alpha



i only see 11 OSes listed here :O



Was doing some work on the 14 Windows Media Player Tips story and got it mixed up. Thanks for catching that! Off to get more coffee now.



yum coffee



Great article.



As I should've expected. OS X was #1. But I did like how it didn't hold any punches as to the... for lack of a better word... real reason why OS X is popular as it is.



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