Updated 21 May, 2013, 8:08 pm IST
5 free operating systems that aren't Linux
| by Rossi Fernandes
The war of operating systems started decades ago, and the first mainstream desktop OS war took place between the Macintosh and Windows operating system. Operating systems are the first bit of software that go into our computer. As PCs dominated the market, Windows became the most used and most popular operating systems ever. It’s stayed that way for close to two decades.
Linux, a free and open source operating system was another one to join the race, but years later, it still hasn’t managed to capture the desktop PC market. Efforts on the Linux are scattered. There are hundreds of Linux distributions, some of them designed specifically for the end user, while the many others made for specific tasks. There are minor differences between Linux distributions, so the user experience doesn’t change a whole lot between them. If you’ve tried your hand at Linux and want to try some others, we’re giving you a list of operating systems that aren’t Linux.
Before you actually go and install them, be careful and try and back-up up all the important data from your hard drive. Some of these operating systems are in their development stages and may not have been tested thoroughly.
A Windows-like operating system built from scratch
While Linux and all of its variants have a completely new look, one of the biggest problems faced by new users is adapting to the new user interface after having used Windows for a long time. ReactOS is a free operating system that looks a lot like Windows. The unique thing about ReactOS is that it was built from scratch, to be like Windows. ReactOS can, in fact run many Windows applications and it’s free. The developers want users to be able to use ReactOS, along with the Windows software and compatible hardware without any issues. At just 48.9 MB, the latest version of ReactOS - 0.3.13 isn’t too large or heavy on resources - it’s a fraction of the size of a standard Windows operating system installation, but remember, is very limited in features. Those who don’t want to setup space on their hard drives and install ReactOS on it, there’s also LiveCD versions that can run off a CD or even disc images that will work on a virtual PC environment (such as Virtualbox).
Haiku Project (www.haiku-os.org)
Reviving BeOS - Haiku Project
BeOS was an operating system that was first developed back in 1991 and the last version 5.1 came out in late November 2001, after which the operating system ceased to exist. Haiku a community driven project, is influenced by the original BeOS operating system and has been under development, since the end of BeOS. The Haiku project aims to have the operating system to be compatible with BeOS binaries. BeOS, in its time was extremely responsive and had the right number of features and a very modern user interface. Haiku mimics most of the features and characteristics of that OS. Like ReactOS, Haiku is also available free for download as an ISO that you can burn on a disc and install on your PC. A virtual machine image file is also available. It’s a little bulkier than ReactOS, at close to 238 MB, but still much smaller than most mainstream Linux distributions and also, Windows.
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