The debate between Windows, Linux, and macOS has been going on for decades. As we enter 2024, which operating system reigns supreme? This article will compare the latest versions of Windows, Linux, and macOS across various categories to help you decide which OS is best for your needs.
Ease of Use
For many years, macOS was considered the easiest OS to use, while Linux was seen as only for tech experts. In 2024, this perception has changed.
Windows 11 features a refreshed user interface designed to be intuitive and user-friendly. The Start menu, taskbar, window snapping, and settings menu have all been updated to be more efficient. Windows 11 gets high marks for usability.
Latest Linux Distributions
Linux distributions like Ubuntu and Linux Mint have continued to improve usability. Intuitive and attractive interfaces combined with simplified software installation processes have made Linux much friendlier for everyday users compared to the past.
While still user-friendly, some macOS Ventura changes like the Stage Manager multitasking feature have proven confusing for some users. Small usability regressions have diminished its ease-of-use advantage.
For gaming, Windows still leads, but Linux and macOS are catching up thanks to advances like GPU pass through and Steam Proton.
With its cutting edge DirectX 12 Ultimate API and extensive game library, Windows 11 remains the undisputed champion for gaming. Major performance gains from the auto HDR and DirectStorage technologies give it a leg up.
Latest Linux Distributions
Linux gaming has progressed in leaps and bounds thanks to Proton compatibility tool and GPU pass through virtualization. This allows thousands of Windows games to run faster than ever before on Linux. Nvidia and AMD also continue improving their Linux drivers.
While Apple has brought top iOS games like Oceanhorn 2 and Crossy Road Castle to macOS through their Metal 3 API, macOS still lags far behind Windows and Linux in game selection and GPU performance.
As cyber attacks grow more prevalent, evaluating the security of these operating systems is crucial.
Windows 11 brings security upgrades like Hardware enforced Stack Protection, better encryption, and secured core PCs to keep firmware safe from attacks. Windows still has a large attack surface, but Microsoft is making improvements.
Latest Linux Distributions
Linux OSes are still widely regarded as the most secure options. With a much smaller attack surface and more granular security control, Linux allows users to create extremely locked-down systems. SELinux and AppArmor allow for fine grained access controls.
While generally secure, macOS has been targeted more frequently by hackers in recent years. New exploitation techniques like cross arch return oriented programming demonstrate vulnerabilities in supposedly hardened macOS systems. Users cannot customize security settings to the extent other OSes allow.
Having access to a wide variety of software is vital for any operating system.
Windows boasts the most software options by far. From creative suites to medical software, specialized peripherals to AAA games, Windows supports the biggest variety thanks to its dominant market share. Software availability is a non issue here.
The Linux ecosystem has exploded recently. Between community maintained repositories like Arch User Repository and commercial efforts by companies like Canonical, Linux users now enjoy tens of thousands of high quality open-source applications covering most every need.
While the macOS software ecosystem is impressive, it does not match Windows. Many niche software titles never make it to macOS. Creative professionals needing tools like the full Adobe Creative Suite still turn to Windows first. For general use the Mac App Store and downloads are sufficient, but limitations exist for power users.
Customization & Control
For experts and enterprises, customization and control options are important considerations.
Microsoft continues locking down Windows for security reasons. While still highly customizable for home users via themes and software options, administrative controls for professionals have diminished. Group Policy tweaks are still useful in Enterprise versions.
No OS matches Linux customizability. Distributions like Arch Linux give total control over every software component and setting through text configuration files. Enterprise versions like Red Hat Enterprise Linux balance flexibility with policy controls. The open ecosystem fosters limitless customization.
Providing limited customization, macOS follows Apple’s “it just works” ethos. Admins utilize System Preferences and MDM profiles to configure macOS for organizations. Power users wishing to deeply modify system functions often find macOS too restrictive compared to Linux.
For home users and businesses alike, cost plays a major role when choosing an operating system.
While commercial use requires paid licensing, Windows 11 Home edition costs nothing for most home PC builders and upgraders. Cost conscious users can access the latest Windows release at no upfront monetary cost. Enterprise licensing adds substantial expense however.
Almost all Linux distributions are entirely free and open source software. Popular distros can be downloaded and installed with no licensing fees or restrictions. While commercial enterprise products from vendors like Red Hat carry a price tag, Linux remains free for personal and small business usage.
As Apple’s proprietary operating system exclusively runs on Mac hardware, macOS itself does not have a cost. Mac computer systems are premium priced though often two or three times as expensive as DIY PC builds. Those costs must be considered when investing in the macOS ecosystem.
From boot times to workflow efficiency, interface fluidity, and resource usage, performance matters.
Leveraging scheduler improvements in Intel 12th gen and AMD Ryzen 6000 chips, Windows 11 feels swift and responsive even on low-cost hardware. The OS has minimal impact on frames per second in games. Background processes sometimes bog down older systems.
Choosing a lightweight Linux distro gives unbelievable speed on underpowered devices. On capable desktops, Linux does not slow down background workloads allowing maximum multitasking performance. Efficient open-source software translates to fast use.
Apple’s Metal APIs, resolution independence, and seamless iOS/macOS integration keep macOS performing admirably on Macs new and old. However, efficiency gaps materialize when using non Apple applications lacking full optimizations. Windows virtualization tools like Parallels also reduce speeds substantially.
With climate change accelerating, eco conscious computing has entered the spotlight. All three OSes now prioritize environmental sustainability as a key initiative.
Starting with Windows 11, Microsoft introduced an Eco mode to limit excess power consumption and resources by open but inactive applications and background processes. This saves energy and enhances notebook battery life. Additionally, optimized deployment processes reduce e-waste from reimaging.
The Linux community has pioneered environmental computing for years by supporting older hardware far longer than competitive vendors. Maximizing hardware lifespans reduces e-waste dramatically. Unique lightweight distros revitalize antiquated systems otherwise headed to landfills. Various power saving tweaks fine tune consumption.
Apple has ramped up sustainability efforts across its product lines. Ventura permits enabling a Low Power Mode to limit energy usage and improve MacBook battery endurance along with an Extreme Low Power state for minimal drain when sleeping. Apple also emphasizes recycled rare Earth metals inside its custom silicon like the M2 chip.
Stability & Reliability
Perhaps most critically, the operating system coordinating everything happening on a computer must remain stable and reliable. Crashes and lockups simply cannot be tolerated.
Despite improvements to the merged Windows kernel, Windows 11 still encounters crashes forcing unanticipated reboots more often than administrators would like. Background Windows Update downloads can also inadvertently destabilize systems. Stability remains a continued area of improvement.
Varying between distributions, most Linux variants offer excellent stability with server versions designed to run untouched for years. Tested patches, revisions to display servers like Wayland, and mature open-source stacks result in Linux desktop reliability equalling and exceeding Windows.
Apple places high priority on rigorous stability testing for macOS across supported Mac hardware configurations. By limiting variability compared to Windows, macOS reliably delivers crash free operation during most tasks. Stability issues tend to only arise when patching bugs in new major point releases.
Table Comparing Windows, Linux, and macOS
Here is the continuation of the table comparing Windows, Linux, and macOS:
|Ease of Use
|Greatly improved usability
|Still easy to use but some confusing changes
|Clear winner with huge game library and latest APIs
|Greatly improved gaming with Proton and GPU pass-through
|Lacks native games and GPU performance
|Improved but still large attack surface
|Most secure option with granular controls
|Increasingly targeted by new exploits
|By far the most software options
|Tens of thousands of quality open-source apps
|Impressive but lacks niche software
|Customization & Control
|Highly customizable but admin controls locked down
|Total control and unlimited customization
|Follows “it just works” ethos with limited tweaks
|Free for home usage but pricey licensing
|Completely free and open source
|macOS is free but Mac hardware is expensive
|Feels fast and smooth
|Extremely efficient for best real-world speed
|Generally good but gaps without Apple optimization
|Eco mode limits power usage
|Prolongs hardware lifespan dramatically
|Apple maximizing recycling and low power modes
|Stability & Reliability
|Still encounters some crashes
|Excellent stability, especially on servers
|Rigorously tested to avoid crashes
There is no definitive winner in the age old Windows vs Linux vs macOS debate. Each operating system has pros and cons across various usage scenarios. The “best” option depends entirely on your priorities. In 2024, all three OSes provide compelling choices and continue pushing each other to innovate.
Whether you prefer Windows 11’s refined interface, Linux’s openness and security, or macOS Ventura’s Apple ecosystem integration, each platform delivers the proprietary software or open-source tools most suitable for your personal or business needs. With cloud computing and platform agnostic tools also advancing rapidly, the operating system wars look poised to enter a phase focused on interoperability and giving users the freedom to pick the right solution for every job rather than one OS for everything.
What operating system is the most user friendly in 2024?
In 2024, Windows 11 and macOS Ventura currently deliver the most intuitive and user-friendly experiences for everyday computer users. Linux usability has improved tremendously but still requires more technical know how for full enjoyment.
Which OS has the best Linux game support in 2024?
Due to technology like GPU pass through and Steam’s Proton compatibility layer, the latest Linux distributions like Ubuntu and Linux Mint now provide excellent support for thousands of Windows games as well as native titles.
Does macOS have more security issues than Linux in 2024?
Based on a growing number of sophisticated macOS exploits recently discovered by white hat hackers and independent security researchers, macOS now faces a larger threat landscape compared to mainstream Linux distributions that remain more hardened targets.
Should I choose Windows or Linux for a sustainable computing experience?
While both Linux and Windows 11 have introduced significant eco sustainability features aimed at reducing power consumption and e-waste, Linux still remains the clear choice if environmental sustainability is your top priority due to the community’s long standing commitment to keeping e-waste out of landfills through prolonged support for older hardware.
Which OS offers the best performance and speed in 2024?
In 2024 Linux distributions like Arch and Manjaro continue to provide unmatched efficient use of computing resources and blazing fast performance when matched with suitable hardware, outpacing Windows and macOS on both low spec legacy machines and cutting edge custom builds.
- Top 15 Elasticsearch Alternatives [Open Source] in 2024 - February 21, 2024
- Top 15 Graylog Alternatives [Open Source] in 2024 - February 21, 2024
- Top 15 Mixpanel Alternatives Open Source in 2024 - February 21, 2024