The Operating System, or OS, is the most important software used by and on the computer or computing system. It is the software that runs the computer, manages the computer’s processes and memory, all of its other software, as well as the hardware. It controls all the peripherals and accessories, and connects with other computers and the Internet and the Cloud. While in operation, several computer programs run at the same time. All of these need to access the CPU (Central Processing Unit), the Memory and the Storage, as well as the Input and Output functions/devices. The OS synchronizes the operations of these programs, and coordinates their use of the common functions. There are several hundred OS existing, but only a few major OS dominate the market, and have more or less weeded out all the rest. This article reviews briefly some of The best free operating systems for the interested user and reader.
Some OS Facts
Modern OS’s use a GUI (Graphical User Interface), so that the human user can use a touchpad or click a mouse to operate icons, buttons and menus or similar input devices to operate the programs, and display everything on the screen using a combination of graphics, text and now, audio. The GUI of every OS is different in use and feel, but the ease of use of all the best modern OS’s are similar, as is the ability to handle and solve complex problems. The OS comes in 4 basic categories these days, depending on their orientation:
- PC Oriented
- Server Oriented
- Mobile Devices Oriented
- Gadgets Oriented
While there are a few powerful Proprietary OS in the market, particularly belonging to the Apple Group (iOS and MacOS), most OS available are Open Source, and most of these are Free (LINUX-based, and Community supported).
Some of The Best Free Operating Systems are presented below:
- Debian: This OS predates LINUX, and has a Free UNIX-like open-source system. Vastly popular in the past, it is now gradually fading away.
- ChromeOS: This is truly the Best of the Best. It is based on the LINUX kernel, and supports the Google Chrome Web browser. Vast lists of Web application are hosted, with Cloud support, but only on Chromebook. The interfaces include Virtual Desktop access, Aura window manager, Chrome Apps, Google Cloud print, and enhanced crypto security for selected Android apps.
- Ubuntu: This is probably the most widely used OS everywhere, Debian-based and has the best security of all. Ubuntu now uses GNOME interface.
- Fedora: This is hugely popular for high-level operations, and used by over 1.2 miilion Users worldwide. Its super-sleek GNOME 3 desktop environment is minimalistic, but can handle the most complex of problems.
- ReactOS: This is lightweight, community-based, and looks and feels like Windows, but its still early days. Privacy is written into the source code.
- FreeDOS: This Free Open-Source tool provides aDOS-like atmosphere. Classic DOS games, business software, or even developing embeddedsystems to run on DOS can be run on this OS with ease. It has FDAV, which is an anti-virus scanner, FAT32 file support, and ARACHNE graphic web browser and email client.
- FreeBSD: This OS is a particular strain of UNIX, developed at Berkeley at the University of California. BSD is free to use, and can be installed from a CD-ROM or over a network using FTP or NFS. Released in December, 2018, this latest version is 12.0. Still under development, it also supports the Amazon EC2 enhanced networking as well as Microsoft Hyper V.
- Haiku: This OS is also still under development, and is based on BeOS software. Open-source and targeted to personal computing, it is designed to be fast, and extremely efficient, with easy usage. Still in the Alpha stage of development, it can currently be used for writing and reading emails, listening to music, watching videos, but its main strengths are yet to be revealed by the Developers.
- TrueOS: The Unix-like OS is built on the latest releases of FreeBSD, and has similar Free Open-Source Unix-like OS. The SysAdm remote management tool makes managing the Server, Desktop or Cloud-based systems quite easy. It can be automatically configured to run AppCafe, Personal Crypt, encrypted backups and so on.