5 Windows OS Alternatives you definitely must try out

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Market share statistics often portray Microsoft Windows as the leading operating system (OS) currently in use today. The roughly 85% lion share of the market is quite telling. The sheer familiarity of the famed OS is akin to breathing. Easy as pie. A life after Windows seems baffling to so many people who might wish to see what else is out there. If you are one of those people curious to know what alternative OS you would love to try out, chances are you already have.

Android

In the touchscreen-oriented market of today, Android is king. Developed by Google and based on Linux kernel, the Android OS is branching out from the smartphone arena and powering tablet computers, TVs, cars and other android gadgets. Android is poised to exponentially increase upon its impressive billion user base with the growing trend of shipping devices with in-built touch capability. In a world all it takes is to connect a keyboard to a tablet computer to have oneself a fully functional PC, the desire to try out a new OS appears to have happened already.

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Chrome OS

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Another of Google’s products doing the rounds is the Chrome OS which ships with the Chromebook and its desktop variant Chromebox. The ecosystem of Google products from Gmail, Maps, Docs, Calendar, Google Drive to Google Chrome are integrated into the system with the user in mind. Developed with built-in protection, long battery life and automatic updates, the Chromebook is surely a tech cheat. After purchase, one doesn’t have to hunt for obscure drives, antivirus software and the like as one would expect in Windows. Contrary to popular belief, the Chrome OS is fully capable of working offline and does not always need the internet to function as it should.

Reports say that as early as 2017, Google will merge Chrome OS with Android OS. We are not sure what the final product will turn out to be though.

Mac OS

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What better way to sever ties with Windows than to jump ship and join the opposing side. Microsoft and its biggest nemesis Apple the makers of the Mac OSX have been at it for decades. Enthusiasts on both sides fervently extol the virtues of their OS of choice as they ridicule the other. Users migrating to Mac will appreciate the sheer artistry invested in the development of Mac, along with fewer virus, security and maintenance issues as opposed to Windows and that is as good a selling point as any. On the downside, Apple products are so heavily priced that before you opt for a Mac, be sure to check on the health of your finances.

Ubuntu

The major attraction to most Linux variants—called distros— like Ubuntu is that they are open source meaning if you got an itch and had the technical know-how, you might just as well develop your very own OS from the free source code readily available. Touted as notoriously reliable and stable, Ubuntu has a large support community, a repository of drives and applications that will set any Windows-brainwashed newbie at rest. The latest desktop Ubuntu release Ubuntu 15 code-named Vivid Vervet comes with improved desktop interface and other tweaks to keep up with current trends.

Linux Mint

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The beauty of Mint and something Windows users would fully appreciate is that it comes fully functional straight out-of-the-box. Unlike most distros, Mint comes packaged with both open source and also proprietary drivers and software applications. Upon installation, a user can play movies, music, access word processing applications, the internet, view and edit pictures, connect to a network, name it. Highly recommended for first-time Linux users, Mint blends a Windows-like familiarity with an intuitive user interface and just like Ubuntu is extremely reliable and stable. In this regard Linux Mint wallops Windows to the ground.

The above mentioned Windows alternatives prove there certainly is a life outside of Windows. As the line between tablets, desktops and smartphones gets blurry with time, the dominance of the Windows OS will soon be at an end. Are you ready to make the jump?

  • Jake

    Your suggestions show a distinct lack of understanding of not only the os you are replacing but also the audience.
    Windows 10 is currently free and available in low cost phones with a feature called continuum allowing your phone to function as a full fledged pc.
    To suggest that the average Ugandan on the web consider Mac Os or chrome os is a callous statement reminiscent of that French Queen who suggested her people eat cake if they couldn’t afford bread.
    Everyone who I hear suggesting Mac Os as an alternative to Windows gets the same question from me. DOES IT NOW WORK ON NON-APPLE HARDWARE? I ask it of you too, dear writer. Given the prohibitive cost of not just the hardware but the Os (yes they sell the Os separately) I don’t think your average Ugandan should consider Mac Os any time soon.
    Chrome Os was/is a failed experiment that will be soon replaced with android. It wasn’t a well thought through idea. It fragmented Google’s efforts and like Mac Os had/has a high barrier to entry. Look at the chromebook prices and recall that despite Google being here on the continent, the devices aren’t. Not even fro recognised and locally present oems like Samsung, Dell and HP.
    Google is set to abandon chrome os to focus more on the Android os in order to tap into the unified platform experience soon to be enjoyed by Microsoft with their windows 10.
    It would be uncharacteristic of me not to take a swipe at our lesser cousins. Recently Microsoft started support for Linux on azure this is both in recognition of the run away success of docker as well as a sympathetic nod to that misunderstood os whose single redeeming quality is lowering the price of your first laptop purchase and giving you something to tide you over until you can find a windows 7/10 pirate to allow you play your games and use applications you are most familiar with.
    Today schools teach Microsoft Word instead of Word Processing. They teach Microsoft Excel instead of Spreadsheets. They teach PowerPoint instead of presentation skills. This means kids out there grow up clueless to productivity applications.
    Maybe you should have set a suitable premise like money is no option or more money than common sense. I am afraid today, there are no alternatives to Windows.
    Look at the hardware that will run Windows 10. IoT (already on raspberry pi), hololense (Microsoft Augmented Reality solution), Surface pro (tablet / laptop hybrid), Surface Hub (watch Hawaii Five O and note the office tech), mobile phones and your ordinary computers. Imagine not only the same user experience but also your customised and tailored environment across all these devices because your profile can now be synchronised across all devices running Windows 10.
    Saying you have alternatives to this is saying, you are happy jogging to the boda stage, riding a boda to the taxi stage, to take you to town so that you can hire an ipsum to drive you to the airport so that you can fly to gulu or hoima. When you could have your own car take you from your doorstep to gulu or hoima with your own chauffeur who knows not only the music you like but also allows you to make and receive communication safe in the knowledge no one is tapping or stealing from you. You do not get “lost in transit” issues.

    • Sydney Mugerwa

      You are on point on many regards but one. Ugandans aren’t a single ‘species’. True, the average computer user might not afford Apple products but that does not mean others can’t. Not to include Mac would seem like a personal vendetta against the OS. We did say that Apple is expensive but people (and yes, Ugandans as well) do buy their products. Chrome OS will merge with Android as stated as well but for now, it still is a viable alternative whether or not it’s locally available. The world is a global village as you well know. People do get their hands on just about anything these days. Not to inform our readers of these alternatives would be a disservice to them. Linux fronts many a solid distro that can substitute Windows for those with non-specialised computer needs (Or specialised if you look at it another way). Your ‘average’ Windows users don’t plug into the OS guns blazing. Most of what you said is for Nerds. Windows is widespread and yes, students are taught Word instead of Word Processors (High 5 on that point) but this is what this platform is about. We are here to broaden the horizons of our understanding on all things tech. One step at a time. Thank you again for your very knowledgeable comment, valued reader. You raised some valid points.

    • Thanks @disqus_pz4GCKymWm:disqus for the comment. Well you have a lot points that I agree with actually. Windows is the undisputed OS on the PC like Sydney wrote. Most people can’t imagine their PCs running any other OS.

      However, this is simply a guide to other OSes on the horizon most of them are plausible contenders. Mac OS is particularly a viable alternative for those who can afford a Mac while Ubuntu is suitable alternative for those who wish to run something else on their PC that’s not windows. Your concern on cost is valid. But it’s not up-to us to determine what people reading this blog can or can’t afford. Also being on the internet, our audience isn’t limited to only Ugandan tech users.

      • Jake

        Windows 10 is a game changer.
        By now you know I have absolutely zero interest on a ugandan blog post being seen by anyone outside uganda. All those blogs you emulate or that inspire you have HUGE readership at home and that is what we need to learn. Charity should begin at home.

        • Sydney Mugerwa

          It is for this same reason that we are writing content for the Ugandan reader first and foremost. Non-Ugandan or non-East African readers are an added bonus. Tech is tech and knows no boundaries. Helping somebody in Sri Lanka with a similar tech issue would be our pleasure. We are here to serve

      • Jake

        You should do a write up on Windows 10 and the ecosystem it now has.

        • Sydney Mugerwa

          That is a great suggestion Jake. We will look into it and get back to you.

  • Jake

    Great post by Sydney. I might disagree with the content but the writing and depth is spot on.

    • Sydney Mugerwa

      Very grateful for your feedback. Disagreements breed dialogue and from dialogue comes understanding. Many thanx

  • Kevin Dye

    After Windows 10 messed up my PC, then Dell refused to assist me as my PC was out of date, I was left without an OS. Searching around for options I came across Linux. Starting with Ubundu I was up and running in no time. But I needed a more familiar setting, for peace of mind, so I went with Mint. Best move I made…and I haven’t looked back!

    • Sydney Mugerwa

      Mint was my first major Linux distro to install. If felt like home. Glad you liked it too 😀