Operating System (OS)
An operating system is the basic software that operates your computer. There are many varieties of operating systems. Of course, in the late 1990's Microsoft was found to have a monopoly in the area of personal computers. Therefore, many people have come to believe that the various Microsoft operating systems are the *only* operating systems. (e.g. Windows 3.1, Win95, Win98, Win2000, NT, XP, etc.)
However, there are other types of operating systems. This article will attempt to explain the disadvantages of being dependent on a single variety of OS:
Over the last several years it has become increasing easy to find testimony on this subject. For instance, the I Love You Virus, Sircam and the Code Red viruses all attack Microsoft's operating systems. I have seen estimates ranging from 13 billion USD to 163 billion USD as the cost to those using the Micorsoft products. Had these business been running other versions of Microsoft products, or other operating systems, the cost would have been closer to 0.00 USD.
Sometimes an upgrade is forced on you by the environment. In general, when a security hole is found in an OS, an upgrade "patch" is issued. If you have multiple computers with the exact same OS, you are forced to upgrade them all at once. This becomes a daunting task when you start to acquire dozens of computers.
Security upgrades can actually be easier to handle than some other types of forced upgrades. Probably the least appealing type of forced upgrade is the "corporate greed upgrade." Microsoft has long been known for this type of practice. In 2001, Microsoft went public with the forced upgrade plan known as Windows XP. In an official press release, Microsoft stated that their Win95, Win98, Windows Me, etc. could not be made secure. Since companies that continue to use the older products will have a huge potential for class action lawsuits and other liability claims, they will be forced to upgrade or pay higher liability insurance/claims.
Reduced Access To Software Titles
A company that uses only one OS is reducing the number of available software packages. In some instances, the is a very costly mistake. Why would a company pay for proprietary database software that will inevitably have forced corporate greed upgrades? Open Source database software is free... and, so are all the upgrades.