← Sitemap

Comparison of Operating Systems

Compared are 15 different operating systems

Comparison of Operating Systems

Source: eylenburg.github.io

Last updated: September 2022

Windows macOS iOS/iPadOS Android Chrome OS GNU/Linux FreeBSD NetBSD OpenBSD Illumos Haiku ArcaOS RISC OS AmigaOS MorphOS

General information
Developer Microsoft Apple Apple Google Google Linux kernel developers + distributors The FreeBSD Project The NetBSD Project The OpenBSD Project Illumos Foundation Haiku, Inc. Arca Noae, LLC RISC OS Develop­ments Ltd. & RISC OS Open Ltd. Hyperion Entertainment MorphOS Development Team
History First release in 1985. Early version were based on MS-DOS (1981-2000). Current versions ("NT") started as a fork of OS/2 (1987-2001). Early versions (1984-2002) were an independent OS. Current versions are based on Darwin (which in turn is derived from NeXTSTEP, FreeBSD, and Mach code). First release in 2007. Based on Darwin (like macOS). First release in 2008. Based on Linux. Typically bundled with Google services. Google-free forks include FireOS, LineageOS, or GrapheneOS. First release in 2011. Based on Linux. An free and open source version called Chromium OS exists. First release in 1991. Typically bundled with GNU software. Various distributions exist, e.g. OpenSUSE, Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora, RHEL, and Arch. First release in 1993. Forked from the Berkeley Software Distribution (1978-1995). Lineage going back to the original UNIX from 1971. First release in 1993. Forked from the Berkeley Software Distribution (1978-1995). Lineage going back to the original UNIX from 1971. First release in 1996. Forked from NetBSD. Lineage going back to the original UNIX from 1971. First release in 2010. Forked from Solaris (1993-today). Lineage going back to the original UNIX from 1971. Various distributions exist, e.g. OpenIndiana and SmartOS. First release in 2002. Independent OS. Started as a reimplementation of BeOS/ZETA (1995-2007). First release in 2017. Based on the last release of OS/2 (1987-2001). First release in 1987. Independent OS. Open source since 2018. First release in 1985. Independent OS. First release in 2000. Independent OS. Started as a reimplementation of AmigaOS (1985-today).
OS group VMS-like Unix-like Unix-like Unix-like Unix-like Unix-like Unix-like Unix-like Unix-like Unix-like BeOS-like VMS-like n/a AmigaOS-like AmigaOS-like
Kernel Windows NT XNU XNU Linux Linux Linux FreeBSD NetBSD OpenBSD Illumos Haiku OS/2 RISC OS Exec Quark
Kernel type Hybrid Hybrid Hybrid Monolithic Monolithic Monolithic Monolithic Monolithic Monolithic Monolithic Hybrid Hybrid Monolithic Microkernel Microkernel

Availability
Target devices
("workstation" = desktop/laptop)
Workstations, tablets, servers, embedded Workstations Phones, tablets, embedded Phones, tablets, embedded Workstations Workstations, tablets, phones, servers, embedded Workstations, servers, embedded Workstations, servers, embedded Workstations, servers, embedded Workstations, servers, embedded Workstations Workstations, servers, embedded Workstations Workstations Workstations
Pre-installed on laptops/desktops? Most devices Apple Mac No No Chromebooks Selected devices No No No No No No Selected devices Selected devices No
Installable on other laptops/desktops? Yes Yes (prohibited)Can be installed on normal x86 PCs ("Hackintosh") but this is against Apple's EULA and is a legal grey zone. No Yes Yes"Chrome OS Flex", some features are missing or limited Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Selected devices Selected devices Selected devices
Pre-installed on smartphones? Not anymore No Apple iPhone Most devices No Selected devices No No No No No No No No No
Installable on other smartphones? No No No Yes No Yes No No No No No No No No No
OS offered by server/VPS hosters? Yes No No No No Yes Yes Rarely Rarely No No No No No No

CPU compatibility - stable releases
x86 (amd64) Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes (32-bit mode) No No No
ARM (arm64) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No Legacy CPUs No No
Power (ppc64) No No No No No Yes Yes Legacy CPUs Yes No No No No Legacy CPUs Legacy CPUs
RISC-V (riscv64) No No No Experimental No Yes Yes Experimental Yes No Experimental No No No No
z/Architecture (s390x) No No No No No Yes No No No No No No No No No

Generic hardware support

Note that the extent of compatibility with specific hardware may vary widely. Basic hardware support such as sound, wired Internet, mouse, keyboard, printers, USB sticks, SD cards, or CD drives are supported by all OS.
GPU/hardware acceleration Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Experimental Yes Yes Yes Yes
Camera/Webcam Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 3rd-party software No 3rd-party software Yes
Multiple monitors Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Multi-touch (on touchpad or touchscreen) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 2 finger scroll/tap No 2 finger scroll/tap 2 finger scroll/tap 2 finger scroll/tap No No 3rd-party software 2 finger scroll/tap
Bluetooth Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No Yes No No No LimitedUSB emulation only (e.g. for using bluetooth mouse or keyboard)
WLAN (Wi-fi) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 3rd-party software 3rd-party software Yes
WWAN/Mobile Internet Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No No No No

General features
64-bit kernel Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No No
Simultaneous multithreading (SMT) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes (disabled) Yes Yes No No No No
Pre-emptive multitasking Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Memory protection Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No LimitedOnly in Qbox (used for low-level tasks), but not in Abox (in which all applications are running). Necessary for backwards compatibility with AmigaOS applications.
Multiple users Yes Yes Deployments only"Shared iPad", only for Education or Enterprise deployments Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No No No
Support for GUID Partition Tables (GPT) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Planned (v5.1) Yes No No
Logical volume management Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes No No No
NFC payments No No Yes Not on AOSPGoogle Pay will most likely only work on the original, unmodified Android ROM that was pre-installed on the device and includes the necessary Google components. No No No No No No No No No No No
Connect to car screen for navigation etc. No No Yes Not on AOSPAndroid Auto will most likely only work on the original, unmodified Android ROM that was pre-installed on the device and includes the necessary Google components. No No No No No No No No No No No
Native IPv6 support Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No 3rd-party software No No
Hosting virtual machines Yes (Hyper-V) Yes (Hypervisor) No Yes (KVM) Yes (KVM) Yes (KVM) Yes (bhyve) Yes (NVMM) Yes (VMM)Currenlty only supports OpenBSD and Linux guests, no graphics output Yes (KVM, bhyve) Install QemuUnofficial port of Qemu without hardware acceleration, has to be installed separately. Install VirtualboxUnofficial (and outdated) port of Virtualbox without hardware acceleration, has to be installed separately. No No No
OS-level virtualisation Yes (Containers) No No No No Yes (LXC) Yes (jails) No No Yes (Zones) No No No No No

File system support

Only shown if supported by the base install without any third-party packages.
exFAT Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No No Read-only No No No No
NTFS Yes Read-only No No Yes Yes No Read-only Read-only No Yes No No No Read-only
APFS No Yes Yes No No No No No No No No No No No No
ext4 No No No Yes No Yes Experimental No No No No No No No Read-only
ZFS No No No No No Some distrosFor example, Ubuntu provides a kernel module Yes Yes No Yes No No No No No

Security
Built-in firewall Yes Yes No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No (in RISC OS 6)RISC OS 6 development has stopped; currently developed version is confusingly called RISC OS 5 No No
Per-app hardware access permissions UWP apps Yes Yes Yes Yes via Flatpak/Snap No No No No No No No No No
Sandboxing of apps by default UWP apps App Store apps Yes Yes Yes No via Capsicumnot supported by all applications No via pledge/unveilnot supported by all applications No No No No No No
Full disk encryption (incl. system) Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No No No
VPN support (OpenVPN or Wireguard) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No No No

Openness
Software license Proprietary Proprietary Proprietary Apache, GPL Proprietary GPL BSD BSD BSD CDDL MIT Proprietary Apache Proprietary Proprietary
Allows app "sideloading" Yes Yes Up to 7 daysInstallations are only allowed from the App Store, except for apps transferred as IPA files from a macOS or Windows devices, but they expire after 7 days Yes via ADBthrough Linux subsystem Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Full file system access in file manager Yes Yes No On rooted devices No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Can be used without online account Yes (hidden)Setting up "local accounts" is hidden during setup, needs undocumented workarounds such as disconnecting Internet or entering bogus account details Yescannot use App Store if not logged in with Apple account Can't install appse.g. cannot use App Store (and sideloading is not permitted on iOS!) or use iMessage if not logged in with Apple account Yescannot use Play Store if not logged in with Apple account Noexcept guest accounts Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yesbut need to purchase a license key to use the OS Yes Yesbut need to purchase a license key to use the OS Yesbut need to purchase a license key to use the OS
No advertising ID (used for tracking) Advertising ID Advertising ID Advertising ID Not part of AOSPWhile included in almost all devices, the Advertising ID is technically not part of Android but of Google Mobile Services Advertising ID None None None None None None None None None None
Unlimited OS update supportWill the OS receive feature and/or security updates forever, as long as hardware requirements are met? Or is update support tied to the specific device (i.e. planned obsolescence) - and if so, how long are devices typically supplied with updates? Yes No (6-11 years) No (6-8 years) No (2-5+ years)Depends on device manufacturer. User-installed ROMs such as LineageOS may increase device lifespan to ~10 years No (4-9 yrs) / FlexChromebooks (with Chrome OS preinstalled) have a limited lifespan in terms of updates. Chrome OS Flex runs on other laptops as well, but Google only officially supports the installation on "certified" devices, and certification of devices may end after which it is not recommended to install updates. Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes w/ subscription Yes Yes Yes

Browser engine support (up to date)
Gecko (e.g. Firefox) Yes Yes No Yes Noalthough Mozilla gives instructions how to run the Android or Linux app of Firefox on Chrome OS Yes Unofficial portFirefox Unofficial portFirefox Unofficial portFirefox Unofficial portFirefox No No No No No
Webkit (e.g. Safari, GNOME Web) Unofficial portNo mainstream browser for Windows uses Webkit, but the engine is compatible with Windows, e.g. there is Qt Ultralight browser or Playwright Yes Yes No No Yes Unofficial portGNOME Web Unofficial portGNOME Web Unofficial portGNOME Web No Unofficial portWebPositive Browser No Unofficial portIris Browser Unofficial portOdyssey Web Browser Unofficial portWayfarer Browser
Blink (e.g. Chrome, Edge) Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Unofficial portChromium Unofficial portChromium Unofficial portChromium No Unofficial portFalkon Browser Unofficial portDooble Browser No No No

Native application support
Microsoft Office core appsExcel, Onenote, Outlook, Powerpoint, Word Yes Yes Yes Yes Web version only Web version only Web version only Web version only Web version only Web version only Web version only Web version only Web version only Web version only Web version only
Adobe Creative Cloud core appsAfter Effects, Animate, Audition, Dreamweaver, Illustrator, InDesign, Lightroom, Photoshop, Premiere Pro Yes Yes LimitedOnly Animate, Lightroom, and Photoshop NoOnly Lightroom No No No No No No No No No No No
Autodesk core apps3ds Max, AutoCAD, Fusion 360, Inventor, Maya, Revit Yes LimitedOnly AutoCAD, Fusion 360, and Maya NoOnly mobile version of AutoCAD NoOnly mobile version of AutoCAD No No No No No No No No No No No
EU/UK banking appsPSD2 regulations requires 2-Factor Authorization to log in to online banking and to confirm payments. Most banks have stopped authorization via text messages or printed TAN lists and instead require the use of of their app or a specific hardware device. No No Yes Not on AOSPBanking apps will most likely only work on the original, unmodified Android ROM that was pre-installed on the device and includes the necessary Google components. No No No No No No No No No No No
AAA-category video games Most Some Few Few No Some No No No No No No No No No

Messaging & Conferencing - official apps

Other communication standards, e.g. E-Mail, SMS, Matrix, XMPP, or IRC can be implemented on any operating system as they don't depend on a specific application
WhatsApp Yes Yes Yes Yes Web version only Web version only Web version only Web version only Web version only Web version only Web version only Web version only Web version only Web version only Web version only
Telegram Yes Yes Yes Yes Web version only Yes Unofficial port Web version only Web version only Web version only Unofficial port Web version only Web version only Web version only Web version only
Signal Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes No No No No No No No No No
iMessage No Yes Yes No No No No No No No No No No No No
Microsoft Teams Yes Yes Yes Yes Web version only Yes Web version only Web version only Web version only NoWeb version is not fully compatible with OS/available browser Web version only NoWeb version is not fully compatible with OS/available browser NoWeb version is not fully compatible with OS/available browser NoWeb version is not fully compatible with OS/available browser NoWeb version is not fully compatible with OS/available browser
Zoom Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes (PWA) Yes Web version only Web version only Web version only Web version only Web version only NoWeb version is not fully compatible with OS/available browser NoWeb version is not fully compatible with OS/available browser NoWeb version is not fully compatible with OS/available browser NoWeb version is not fully compatible with OS/available browser

Cloud sync - official apps
Dropbox Yes Yes Yes (limited sync)Mobile app doesn't support real-time sync or folder pair sync, only camera upload and "offline files" are supported Yes (limited sync)Mobile app doesn't support real-time sync or folder pair sync, only camera upload and "offline files" are supported No Yes No No No No No No No No No
OneDrive Yes Yes Yes (limited sync)Mobile app doesn't support real-time sync or folder pair sync, only camera upload and "offline files" are supported Yes (limited sync)Mobile app doesn't support real-time sync or folder pair sync, only camera upload and "offline files" are supported No No No No No No No No No No No
Google Drive Yes Yes Yes (limited sync)Mobile app doesn't support real-time sync or folder pair sync, only camera upload and "offline files" are supported Yes (limited sync)Mobile app doesn't support real-time sync or folder pair sync, only camera upload and "offline files" are supported No No No No No No No No No No No
iCloud Drive Yes Yes Yes (limited sync)Mobile app doesn't support real-time sync or folder pair sync, only camera upload and "offline files" are supported No No No No No No No No No No No No
Nextcloud (client) Yes Yes Yes (limited sync)Mobile app doesn't support real-time sync or folder pair sync, only camera upload and "offline files" are supported Yes (limited sync)Mobile app doesn't support real-time sync or folder pair sync, only camera upload and "offline files" are supported No Yes Unofficial port No Unofficial port No No No No No No

Server applications
Apache or nginx (HTTP server) Yes Yes No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Unofficial port Unofficial port No NoThere is an unofficial port of Apache but it's very outdated NoThere is an unofficial port of Apache but it's very outdated
Dovecot & Postfix (IMAP/SMTP server) No Yes No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Unofficial port No No No No
MySQL or PostgreSQL Yes Yes No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Unofficial port NoThere is an unofficial port of MySQL but it's very outdated NoThere is an unofficial port of MySQL but it's very outdated NoThere is an unofficial port of MySQL but it's very outdated No
Nextcloud Server No No No No No Yes Unofficial port Unofficial port Unofficial port No No No No No No
ejabberd (XMPP Server) Yes Yes No No No Yes Yes Yes No Yes No No No No No
Synapse (Matrix Server) No Yes No No No Yes Yes Unofficial port Yes No No No No No No

Can run other OS's apps?

Linux,
Android

iOSon ARM Macs,
Windowsvia CrossOver (third-party app)

Windowsvia Wine (third-party app)

Linux,
Android,
Windowsvia CrossOver (third-party app)

Windowsvia Wine or CrossOver (third-party app),
Androidvia Anbox or WayDroid (third-party app),
macOSvia Darling (third-party apps) - experimental support only!

Linux,
Windowsvia Wine (third-party app)

Linux,
Windowsvia Wine (third-party app) - unofficial port

Windowsvia Wine (third-party app) - unofficial port

Windowsvia Wine (third-party app) - unofficial port
BeOS

Windowsonly 16-bit apps as well as 32-bit apps via Odin32 (third-party app
DOS

AmigaOS

Also worth mentioning...

There are of course many more operating systems, for an extensive list see here. I have not included the following:

What about market share?

The below diagram shows the historical market shares of operating systems across personal devices (meaning "workstations", "PC", desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones, but excluding for example servers). At the bottom you will see a short genealogy of the major "consumer" operating systems. Many historical operating systems families are long dead, some other are somehow still alive but barely so or have stopped not targeting the personal computing or workstation market anymore.

In some cases, the old OS name has been kept even though its successor was a completely different product, technologically speaking. This includes Windows (versions up to Win 98 and Win ME based on MS-DOS, versions since Win 2000 based on NT), Blackberry OS (version 10 based on QNX), and macOS (version 10 based on the Unix-like Nextstep).

List of Browser Engines and their historical market shares

Click here to open the picture in a new tab