The following is a Plus Edition article written by and copyright by Dick Eastman.
A very few years ago, the question of "Which genealogy programs run on which computers?" had a very simple answer: Windows genealogy programs could be used only on Windows computers while Macintosh genealogy programs could operate only on Macintosh computers. A less popular operating system, called Linux, could only work with programs especially written for use on Linux. Life was good (and simple).
In the last few years the concepts have become a bit more complex. First of all, there are now more operating systems available, including Android for cell phones and tablets, Apple's iOS operating system for iPhones and iPads, and the Chrome operating system designed for use with cloud-based applications. The answers to the question still remained simple: each operating system can only run programs that were written for use on that operating system. Simple, right?
HOWEVER... virtual computers have also became popular. Here is where things get fuzzy. By definition, a virtual computer is a bit of software that runs on one operating system but allows the use of programs designed for use on different operating systems. In fact, it is possible to use multiple virtual computers (running multiple operating systems) simultaneously on one computer. Indeed, by using a bit of virtual computer software, it is now possible to run a Macintosh genealogy program on a Windows computer or vice-versa. Then, there is the cloud...
Confused? Indeed, this discussion of operating systems can be a bit complex. However, like most complex concepts, things become simpler when you dissect the various pieces and examine them one at a time. This article will hopefully do just that. Let's divide the topic into three separate concepts.
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