Your operating system. Now you see me, now you don’t.

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What operating system(OS) does your PC use? Did you make a conscious decision to pick that OS or was it picked by the manufacturer of your PC? Microsoft and Apple like to sell the features of their latest OS versions because they want to show how their products add value to your computing experience. Linux teams promote their OS because its free to use and open to anyone to contribute improvements.

But for most people, the brand of the OS is really not a concern to them. They just want their PC experience to run without problems and errors. They use the PC as a tool to complete a task, share a memory, or research information.

Now you see me

Think back to when PCs were becoming common place in our homes during the 80s and 90s. At that time, you would go to the store to buy software that you then installed locally from a set of disks or a CD disc. Everything ran locally on your PC. Your OS was important in this model because you had to make sure that the software was ‘windows compatible’ or ‘MAC compatible’.

Now you don’t

As the Internet became part of our lives, and maturation of browsers to run applications and display information, the OS became less of a focus for software tools. Think about your personal computing usage this week. You didn’t install any extra software to run Facebook, LinkedIn, Yahoo mail, or online banking. Today you can run all of the standard office productivity suite, check email, balance your check book, pay your bills, research a new purchase, etc. all through a single piece of software, your browser.

There are still specialized software programs out there that require local installation. Computer aided design, digital artwork, film editing, etc. But for the most people, they can run all the software they need through a browser. You don’t really see or think about the OS in this model.

Now you see me again

The latest trend is mobile computing and running applications on your mobile device. Do you know what OS is installed on your mobile device? You might not know the specific OS name, but you do know that application you just downloaded only works on an iPhone right? It’s interesting to note that in some ways the mobile applications are similar to the early PC days. An application only runs on iPhone or runs on Android.

Now you don’t see me again

I think over time, the mobile device applications will go the way of the PC applications. They’ll run through the browser on your mobile device. The OS will stay invisible and you can still send that picture of Johnny to your friends. Software makers will be start to either make mobile versions of their online applications or they’ll take mobile devices into their design considerations.

And with that thought I’m outta here…..(poof!)